My Review of The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Five Stars ***** it was amazing

This novel by Justin Cronin is epic in the same way as The Stand by Stephen King is. I never thought I’d make that statement, but even Stephen King describes it as having “the vividness that only epic works of fantasy and imagination can achieve”.

The Passage is the first in a trilogy (I shout “yay”!). It’s 785 pages in length, and the next two volumes in the trilogy are nearly as long. Genre-wise, I would describe it as a literary apocalyptic science fiction thriller. It also has vampires of a sort, but not like any you’ll have come across in fiction before. They are freaky, scary, impressive in design, and yet tragic, too.

In brief, the plot is about a virus that threatens to wipe out every living creature on the planet, and one girl called Amy who holds the key to saving the world. Yes, the whole virus thing has been done before, just as it being related to the military messing with science. But the scale of this novel makes it something else altogether: the world-painting, the characterisation, the breadth of vision, the graphic action sequences, and the moments of tenderness interspersed between the horror of what’s taking place.

One small warning, about a third of the way into the novel, the author does a time-jump of nearly a century, seemingly leaving a whole load of characters behind. This caused me a monumental schism in the head when it happened and for about 20 pages I was annoyed. But this feeling passed as things fell into place and I realised the author had a valid reason for doing this, although he risked causing some of his readers to abandon the book at an early stage. Take it from me, you will forgive him if you persevere.

To quote Stephen King yet again: “Read this book and the ordinary world disappears”.

Self-published Novel Picked Up By Traditional Publisher: Henry Gee’s “By The Sea”

Henry Gee mono_6156Time to offer Henry Gee my hearty congratulations. He’s just proved that a self-published novel that’s excellently written, perfectly formatted and free of typos, has a decent chance of being picked up by a traditional publisher. This is what I said about the self-published version of By The Sea back in November in my post titled Interview with Henry Gee.

Mermaids, museums and murder are just some of the ingredients in Henry Gee‘s gothic horror crime novel By The Sea — a book that has earned him a decent number of five-star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. He really knows how to paint a vivid canvas with words and, personally, I loved everything about his novel: its characters, setting, fast-paced plot, mystery, and suspense.

So here we have it, the traditionally published version of his novel unveiled: the cover and the blurb.

Horrific bereavement has forced Detective Inspector Persephone Sheepwool to leave London and make a new life on the remote North Norfolk coast. 

But horror is never far behind, as she discovers when a body is found at a museum in a decaying clifftop mansion whose shadowy staff is dedicated to discovering the secrets of the sea. Investigating the death, Sheepwool finds that some secrets are probably best left submerged. 

Trouble is, even the most deeply submerged secrets have a nasty way of oozing to the surface.

If you like a book with an atmosphere so thick that you can cut it with a knife, this is one for you – Brian Clegg, author of Extra-Sensory

Bram Stoker meets Tom Sharpe in this hugely entertaining romp. Henry Gee may just have invented a new genre –not Science Fiction but Science Gothick – John Gribbin, author of In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat

This Gothic novel is a cracking good story, with an intricate and unpredictable plot … It starts with a death – is it murder or misadventure? – and more deaths follow … a pleasing mixture of suspense, the grotesque and laugh-out-loud humour – Frank Norman in Mill Hill Essays

This novel is definitely Gothic, very Gothic, downright Gothic  – Pat Shipman, author of The Man Who Found The Missing Link and The Animal Connection

By The Sea is now available as a paperback and eBook from ReAnimus Press, from Amazon UK and Amazon US.