Monday, 18 January 2016

Wot I'm reading: The King's disciple

Jonathan Huls: THE N'th DAY


I don't normally write a "solicited" review but Jonathan Huls approached me winningly after he read my review of a Stephen King novel online. He's clearly a "disciple" of the King of Horror. The Nth Day is pretty original in its conception, although Mr King's mighty epic The Stand may have provided some of his inspiration and it's likely that the Omen movies also filtered through the creative process.

There are three main protagonists: Justin, a boy with miraculous powers of both healing and destruction; Cassie, a fostered runaway who suffers many kinds of abuse; and Theodore, an oddball black billionaire who lives like a tramp. In a near-future world where apocalyptic events have begun to occur, this trio are clearly destined to meet, and indeed their stories finally converge in a near-Armageddon scenario in Atlanta.

The Stephen King influence, a beneficial one, is that Mr Huls gives even walk-on characters little chunks of vivid back-story to bring them to life. He uses more profanity than seems strictly necessary, and some of the gross-out scenes may be a bit too gross for squeamish readers. The print version of his book is handicapped by clunky formatting. I'm guessing this is a debut offering; like so many self-published books it would have benefited from some independent editing, but the author gets high marks for effort and originality. As they say on school reports (mine, for sure!): "Could do better" - and very likely will.

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