Sunday, September 9, 2012

Niceville by Carsten Stroud

I didn't really know what I was getting myself into with this one.  I read about it, some quick little blurb somewhere, and it seemed like it could be a "lose yourself in here" kind of book.  I think the quick synopsis is something like "boy suddenly disappears, like caught-on-camera disappears. town in a tizzy.  something's weird in niceville."

I thought to myself, sure! that sounds good to me...
Now that I've read it (rather quickly), I find myself having a difficult time really describing it.  So, the little two-liner above isn't inaccurate.  it's just not accurate either.

Niceville is like reading a Stephen King without the gore.  Or maybe a Grisham with ghosts.  Or maybe nothing at all like Stephen King or John Grisham because it just doesn't fit.

It was well written.  It was VERY well populated with characters.  It was intriguing.  It was funny (surprisingly).  It was a horror story, kind of, but not gory, really.  It was a thriller, maybe even psychological, but maybe it's more of a crime story.  It would make a good crime tv series.  Especially since I know that there are more coming (yay!).

So, what's it about?  It's about this town, Niceville, where things aren't so nice.  (that's not surprising, I don't think, from either the title or the cover image).  There's a cliff and a sink hole that seem to make people act ... odd.  There's a missing boy, then something happens (i hate spoilers), and then the boy is back.  Kind of.  Or maybe not.

But then there's also the bank robbers.  There're the pervie side-characters.  There's the genius techie.  There're Nick, Kate, and Kate's dad.  There's Glynis Ruelle.  And there's Claire Mercer.  There's also so much more.  Again, I was impressed with the amount packed into this book, particularly because it read so quickly.  I find that a rare skill -- the ability to introduce a reader to a high number of characters, to allow the reader to really get to know the characters, and to do so while moving the plot(s) along quickly and effortlessly.

I highly recommend, but I also warn it's dark.  If you want something light & fluffy... well, if you want something light & fluffy you probably don't read this blog.  But this is on the darker side of dark.  But not squeamish.  Not nightmare.  Just ... you know, that slight discomfort in the quiet 2 a.m. when everyone else in the house is asleep...

FOUR of five stars.

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