I took Mr. Shereshevsky with me on my Vegas trip, along with a newly acquired mini-magnetic chess set. But though I futzed around with the set, some openings, etc, I confess I never cracked the endgame book.
Instead I picked up a book in the airport. In those situations – confronted by a 5-hour flight – I gravitate toward more mindless fare to pass the time. In this case I wound up with the 500-page horror novel The Ruins, by the same fella who wrote the book that turned into the critically acclaimed Bill Paxton – Billy Bob Thornton snoozer flick A Simple Plan.
I don’t really read horror much, or see many horror movies (the most recent I can recall seeing in its entirity was probably the execrable and derivative Event Horizon, featuring a complete mail-it-in performance by Laurence Fishburne) but the popularity of the genre intrigues me. The Ruins has cover raves from Stephen King and others. And unlike the very little Dean Koontz I’ve had the misfortune to scan, The Ruins is *very* well-written. I don’t say that casually. The guy can write.
But it’s ultimately unsatisfying. Icky, yes, but not really disquieting as promised. That’s a pretty significant difference.
If you want something disquieting, disturbing, palpable, plausible, order a copy of my former boss Lew McCreary’s novel The Minus Man (later made into a less-disturbing movie starring Owen Wilson, Brian Cox, Sheryl Crowe and others). Now that’ll make your skin crawl. Especially if you work for the author.