Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review: Still Life by Joe Donnelly

Primeval power.....brooding violence....untold horror!

Caitlin Brook came to Linnvale village after the shooting that left her paralysed. Here, surrounded by the ancient Caledonia forest, she finds peace - during the hours of daylight. But when darkness falls, she is consumed by vivid dreams that take her ever closer to the gnarled, grotesque tree at the forest's heart.
Two strangers break into her life: Martin Thornton, a reporter and Sheila Garvie, a healer and wise woman. Caitlin needs these two strangers - but their own need is even more powerful.
As Caitlin loses control of her destiny, the forces of civilization are ranged against the guardians of the ancient forest. Nature and the old gods are demanding fresh blood, new life, human sacrifice.

Reading Still Life was a blast from the past - a walk down memory lane to the time when there was nothing I liked more than a ' right in your face, hit 'em with all you've got' horror story. The time when Stephen king was The Man! Nowadays I like my horror a little more restrained and subtle but I had picked up this book for a couple of dollars at the Book Fair and tucked it away thinking it would be perfect for RIP. Which it was!
It's a long book - Joe Donnelly loves words and writing long and gruesomely descriptive paragraphs
'The wind strengthened and shook him, bending him this way and that, twisting and turning so that he felt his whole length cry out as the strain ripped cell from cell. Great cracks appeared where thick barky skin tore and green spurted out. His rigid body gave before the wind and the booming pounded up through him in a series of violent, irresistible blows."
But ancient forests, witches and pagan themes always appeal and the horror is nicely balanced with the modern theme of progress versus conservation and the conflict it creates in communities. The relationship between Caitlin and Martin, both strangers to the isolated Scottish village, adds  a romantic interest although I actually enjoyed the stories of the secondary village characters more.

Still Life reminded me reading is fun and, while I may no longer choose to read this type of book , I was thoroughly entertained all the way through this fast-paced, dark and scary, good old-fashioned horror tale.

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Publisher: Arrow Books, 1993

1 comment:

  1. It is always nice when a book reminds you that reading is fun. I think sometimes people take it a bit too serious and forget to have fun.