“What took place on March 13, 1917 set in motion humanities closest brush with annihilation by an extraterrestrial race … ”
“The Possession” is a hard book to review. I just want to say that up top.
For the first half, “The Possession” feels like a mash-up of “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Dark Half,” and “Child’s Play.” It’s clunky and hard to follow, with characters and time-frames moving around enough to give you whiplash.
For example, we’ve seen that on Date X, Y happened to Character Z. Period. Then, suddenly, we’re back at Date X-2, and Z is fine, because Y hasn’t happened yet. Get it?
I’m sorry to use algebra in a book review, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Also, at Date X-2, suddenly Z has a kid of whom there was no mention during the lead up to Date X. Just to complicate it more.
The first half, maybe two-thirds of “The Possession” were often difficult to follow, as I said, because it wasn’t always clear where we were or why we were there. Most novels that slap us around time frames will have a page saying, “May, 2001,” so that we can put this section of the story in its proper context. Like, “Oh! We’re going back five years and change, because the previous chapter was `November, 2006.’”
(When I was in broadcast advertising, we called this “idiot-proofing.” Don’t assume the listener will be able to find “19993 U.S. 19 N.” Rather, say “On U.S. 19 North a block past Algebra Ford.” Keep the simple but crucial things as simple as possible.)
One petty annoyance for me: any time somebody ate a meal, it developed into gourmet-speak. The author is trained as an executive chef—which explains the vast, no doubt legitimate detail—but I don’t think we need a whole paragraph for each meal. Seriously, everything after “White Alaskan Salmon” is lovingly written overkill, perhaps only to me. “They ate fish and drank wine. After dinner, they went to a square dance and murdered people.”
Then around the halfway or two-thirds mark, “The Possession” really hits its stride. It’s like driving through Atlanta at rush-hour, then suddenly, you’re on wide-open I-75 South, hauling ass, unimpeded
This is when the story gets really good. First off, we are able to contextualize some of the earlier information that didn’t seem to advance the plot on the first read-through. Things start happening, and “The Possession” starts eliciting shivers. This was the point where I couldn’t put the book down. It got that good—double-A ball to the major leagues. THAT good.
The story concerns the most popular writer on earth, who develops writer’s block, and finds he can write again, but only if he performs an evil task. His evil tasks are bad enough, but they turn out to be part of a much larger, much more evil happening. The idea of fate comes into play, with characters helpless to fight off their destinies.
“The Possession” was so enthralling by the end that I can’t wait to read the trilogy’s second book.
One technical note: there were some formatting errors that made for challenging reading on my Kindle, but I imagine those will be fixed—I received a review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.
I’m giving “The Possession” three stars. Read it this way: the first half is a two, and the second half is a solid four. There was that much dichotomy between the two parts. Here’s hoping the second book continues “The Possession’s” late momentum. Then we’ll be cooking with gas.
Recommended, with the above caveats—Tom, Goodreads!
For more on the story, visit the site where “truth reads through fiction” @ http://www.thewriterofbooks.com/list-of-works/synopsis-possession/.
AN EXCERPT FROM — ORIGINS — BOOK #2 IN THE CONSPIRATOR’S ODYSSEY SERIES:
I’m a member of a secret society—one that uses the concept of alternative history to slowly awaken the masses to the covert doings of individuals of this world and beyond. It’s a weapon stronger than you may think; for one cannot save a world nestled in a box, strategically dormant to the realities of their existence. By exposing the masses to the idea of an alternative history it will help to soften the blow felt when the world’s dirty laundry can no longer be contained.
Writers such as myself, producers, film directors, etc. have been doing this for years—preparing the masses for the inevitable. Think back to the Rod Serling’s 1959—1964 series the Twilight Zone or The Mercury Theatre’s October 30, 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio; where actor Orson Welles continues to frighten the hell out of me. I knew then, that in order to shake the psyche and affect the consciousness of my brethren; I would half to do it today just as they did back then.
The debate over what’s true and what’s false in fiction is never ending, primarily due to the fact that all fiction is based on some truth. Like that of a surreptitious military operation, the goal of argumentative writing is to tactically persuade your audience that your ideas are valid beyond the method by which you’ve chosen to relay your story. The Greek philosopher Aristotle divided the means of persuasion, appeals, into three distinct categories—Ethos, Pathos, Logos.
Examples of this are infinite—Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, George Orwell’s 1984, Milton William Cooper’s Behold A Pale Horse, Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers, David Seltzer’s The Omen, H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds, Thomas Michael Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidate, Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity, Robert A. Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters, Jules Gabriel Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods, not to mention both the Writer’s Block Trilogy and the Conspirator’s Odyssey Series to which I’m taking the liberty of weighing in. However unquestionably interminable these examples may be, all remain but the tiniest of pebbles dropped haphazardly into a massive basin of still water.
Words I liken to keys, which unlock the incomprehensible doors of the matrix we were conceived. However, it is a choice the individual must make to read, to absorb, to beware, and to prepare.
For more information on my body of work, visit the site where “truth reads through fiction” @ http://www.thewriterofbooks.com/home/my-current-project/
AN EXCERPT FROM — THE POSSESSION — BOOK #1 IN THE WRITER’S BLOCK TRILOGY:
As I write, my whispery gabble leads the pencil in my hand as the motoring muscles that rope around my carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges, which draw their strength from the brachioradialis, forearm flexors, and the brachialis, struggle to keep up with my thoughts. This race is forever humorous. I feel a burning sensation as my fingers grip the pencil with zeal. I drown myself in my thoughts regularly, for my thoughts hum through me like the soothing sounds of the bulbul.
The smell of crushed lead bleeds from the number-two pencil as my hand grasps it, guided by my angelic, developing literary mind. Its remnants glide upon the unorthodox – medieval by comparison – recycled paper within my diary, affectionately known as my “morbid book.” Writing seems to come easily for me. I’m what some would call a “thinker” – a heavy one at that – as labeled by my parents. But let’s not talk of my relations and their forever harsh opinions of me. Thoughts and story ideas seem to bounce through my mind like cotton balls, dancing around within a windy tunnel. Fascinating, these thoughts. Fascinating and utterly marvelous!
Writing was destined for me. I’m going to become a great writer. I’m going to shock the world with a story that will capture the true essence of fear and horror. I will bend the fabric of time and force another dimension of reality to rear its ugly head, to the utter amazement and heavily concentrated fascinations of civilized minds. I will fascinate with my approach. I will have a following to rival that of great leaders and fearless generals, in a time when one who lived by the sword fell also by that sharp edge, cast by an opposing warrior. My thoughts will prove themselves worthy with every letter, phrase, sentence, and paragraph. My thoughts will prove themselves worthy.
Worthy, I say. Worthy, indeed.
From what fathoms do these thoughts come? That question I cannot answer, yet speculation is not beyond me. I was but three years of age when these thoughts began to dance through my head, and, with great clarity, I comprehended every facet.
Strangely, as far back as my birth, the darkness never frightened me. There were times I could have sworn that, throughout the night, my room, as well as the outskirts of our home, was consumed by shadowy figures whispering my name. As they looked over me with seeming vengeance, I felt a calming comfort in the darkness around these shadowy things.
Oddly, I found it soothing and enriching. I found it compelling, with a pull that opened my mind to a world in the form of a large lock, with me the only key.
Writing was destined for me.
Writing is my destiny!
QUESTION, MY FRIENDS [?]
Is the character, Gregory Stillingsworth, of A.K. Kuykendall’s Writer’s Block Trilogy based on the life and writings of famed horror novelist Stephen King?
I’M CURIOUS TO KNOW YOUR ANSWER [!]
For a detailed overview of the project, visit the site where “truth reads through fiction” @ http://www.thewriterofbooks.com/list-of-works/synopsis-possession/.