Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beast From The Sea

This is the first novel from the daughter of a friend, and I was pleasantly surprised by it: sort of a supernatural horror detective novel.  It is better written than I was expecting.  As my review on Amazon explains:
Henry James is responsible for the idea of "show, don't tell": that instead of a narrator telling you what is happening, and why, the author gives you clues, hints, and information from which you can figure out what is happening. It demands a bit more from the reader than just telling you, but it can also be a more satisfying read.
This is a tale of the supernatural--but also a detective story, and a political thriller--a combination that you do not normally expect to find. The writing is more evocative of place and conditions than I would expect from a starting novelist. The description of people trying to make their way in a society that is just authoritarian enough to be unnerving, but just close enough to a society in which we live that it makes it more unnerving, is also surprisingly sophisticated. It also shows the author has knowledge of areas such as archaeology, geology, and practical politics in authoritarian societies.
If you need something to read on your Kindle on the airplane, you could do worse.  I generally don't get much out of H.P. Lovecraft sort of novels, but as I said, it actually crosses several genres quite effectively.

1 comment:

  1. A quick comment here just to clarify that Beast from the Sea is not set in the Lovecraftian cosmos like, for example, some Brian Lumley novels and stories, nor a parody of it, like the Charles Stross "Laundry Files" series. The "beast" of the title did, however, put me in mind of Stross's A Colder War story, though I know R.B. Kannon has never read anything by Stross.