Short Takes

Short Takes: Book reviews in brief

November 3, 2012 

Fiction

The Lovecraft Anthology: A Graphic Collection of H.P. Lovecraft’s Short Stories, Vol. 1 and 2

Edited by Dan Lockwood, Self Made Hero, 120 pages

Don’t read “The Lovecraft Anthology” before going to bed. You may never want to turn out the light. Two new graphic collections, edited by Dan Lockwood, are enough to give nightmares to any imaginative reader.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft is best remembered for his short stories and novellas, heavy with nameless terrors, evil curses that travel down human bloodlines, and multi-eyeballed slime-coated aliens with tentacles from other worlds. Lovecraft’s stories entered the bloodstream of science fiction and horror early in the development of the genre, in the late 1920s and ’30s. Elements still turn up in contemporary fiction: His imaginary city of Arkham, Mass., has a Sanatorium that turns up in the “Batman” comics as the gloomy “Arkham Asylum,” home to many criminals.

Lockwood’s adaptation of Lovecraft’s stories into graphic comics has trimmed to readability Lovecraft’s archaic writing style. A different artist illustrates each story, from an almost cut-paper style by Shane Ivan Oakley to the lush green water-color style illustrations by Matt Timson. In the first story, the classic “Call of Cthulhu,” a statue of a god with dangling tentacles leads to many bloody deaths. In “The Festival” a man returns to his ancestral village in New England and meets his “elders” – who slither rather than walk. These graphic novels may be as far as most readers might want to go in Lovecraft’s world, but many of his stories are now out of copyright protection and available free on the Internet. McClatchy Newspapers

Resurrection Express

Stephen Romano; Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 437 pages

Stephen Romano plunges into a frenetic plot that doesn’t slow down until the very last word in the adrenaline-rich thriller “Resurrection Express.”

Elroy Coffin specializes in high-tech robberies, capable of breaking any code. Or at least he did before a gunshot to his head affected his memory. Now in prison for attempted murder and armed robbery, Elroy feels guilty only because he believes his skills caused his wife, Toni, and father to have been murdered by crime boss David Hartman.

But Elroy learns that everything he thought was real is false when he is visited by “concerned citizen” Jayne Jenison. Jayne promises she can get him released if he helps find her grown daughter, who’s being held captive by Hartman with Toni, his very much alive wife. And by the way, his father is also alive and well. Supposedly, Hartman’s impregnable vault holds the answers, but that should be no problem for a hacker with Elroy’s skills.

Elroy dives into his assignment, but finding Jayne’s daughter and Toni pits him between two criminal kingpins, each with a separate agenda. With his faulty memory and betrayal around every corner, Elroy must make split-second decisions about what is the truth and whom to believe. Extreme suspense and a cinematic approach make “Resurrection Express” a solid thriller. Sun Sentinel

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