Author: Neil Gaiman
Title: The Sandman : Preludes & Nocturnes
Publication Info: Vertigo (2010), Edition: Reprint
This is the first collection of the legendary comic book series about Dream, the personification of dreams. In this story he his captured and held prisoner for 70 years, avenges himself on his captors, and sets forth to rebuild his kingdom. Gaiman’s writing is dark and Dream is cruel but still at times a sympathetic protagonist. The illustrations are rich and often gruesome but always effective. It appears with the groundwork set in this volume that the series could really take off from here.
Author: Rob Blackwell
Title: A Soul To Steal
Publication Info: CreateSpace (2011)
A couple of disclosures before I begin this review. First, I know the author as we went to college together and more importantly were both DJ’s at the college radio station, WCWM. Second, I’ve always been drawn to “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” – partly because I grew up 45 minutes from the town in New York (then known as North Tarrytown) and visited frequently – and the Headless Horseman is a prominent feature of Blackwell’s novel. The story is part crime novel, part thriller, part supernatural and an original amalgam of all the above. Set in a small town in Virginia, two reporters for a local paper Quinn and Kate have to deal with the return of serial killer who tormented the town a dozen years earlier. This would be bad enough but each character has personal demons to face as well, some of which appear in very tangible forms. There are a few flaws to the book as events transpire and relationships form far too rapidly to be believable. I also wonder why when Quinn runs a journalist’s writings through software that can help identify the author why he doesn’t do the same with the letters of the serial killer Lord Halloween (other than that the mystery would have been solved a hundred pages earlier). These flaws can be overlooked though because this book really is a page turner and has moments of being very unsettling and very humorous. The ending promises a sequel that I forward to reading.
Recommended books: The Dark Half by Stephen King, The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen, and Capitol Hell by Joseph M. Pendal.