The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Steve Vernon

June 3, 2018 at 6:12 pm (horror, Links, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , )

I have a few reviews a long time owing for Nova Scotian writer, Steve Vernon. I’ve reviewed his YA Sci-fi (Flash Virus) in the past, but I especially like Steve’s folksy storyteller approach to tales of murder and horror, and I’ve read several of his short story collections, and a novel, I have yet to review. I thought it was about time.

If you’ve ever witnessed Steve give a “reading”, you’d understand where his particular flavour comes from. He’s the guy you want adding his two cents to stories around the campfire or when you’re huddled by a candle during a power outage on a storm day. His stories, like him, are very animated, hooking your attention and drawing you further in.

His stories are often based on material close to home. Three of his collections I’ve had a chance to read and very much enjoy include Halifax Haunts, local ghost tales retold with Steve’s particular type of flare, Maritime Murder, true crime stories from the past revisited, and
The Lunenburg Werewolf: And Other Stories of the Supernatural, exploring some local legends that were in many cases new to me.

The research required to bring these tales to light is quite obvious, with dates and details that give them substance above and beyond Steve’s enjoyable characteristic style. Most of the stories are dark, some are more playful and some are downright chilling, but they are all entertaining and seem real enough to suggest plausability.

Steve’s books stand on my bookshelves among my favourites. If you’ve never had the opportunity to read his books, I’d recommend doing so.

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Flash Virus

October 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm (Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Flash Virus: Episode One – by Steve Vernon

I was pleased to get the opportunity to read this before it was made available to the general public. Steve Vernon is a talented writer, with a quirky and dark sense of humour and a great way with words, so I didn’t care that much if this was a young adult novel when I normally prefer adult fiction. I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this, however, because of its dystopian/apocalypse spin. I was pulled in from page one when Billy Carver’s butt started ringing.

I was struck immediately by how well he captured the thought patterns of a teenage boy – the first person protagonist one with a very odd name, Briar Gamble. His thoughts are sporadic and all over the place, a reflection of a short attention span and an inclination to following impulse. That and Steve provides us with little glimpses of strange things that had happened and that would happen in the story to come – a bit of a tease.

The story opens with tainted cell phones, ones that can be used to subjugate a person’s will, handed out by the Black Masks. The popular kids are targeted, and pick up, first, the sheep follow suit, but the free thinkers recognize a bad thing when they see it and discard their phones, rebelling. From there, the story follows Briar and his other classmates who haven’t been “possessed”, in the face of Captain Albino (aka Mr. Millett) and the Black Masks, their fishbowl sunglasses, and their oddly translated phrases.

The story was fast paced and intriguing, with a goodly amount of humour and action. It does drift a little too much into “silly” for my tastes at times, but the characters are interesting and diverse, and I think the story would have a lot of appeal for the average reader of young adult fare. I enjoyed it, which says a lot considering it would not be my typical reading selection.

Of course, being the first episode in a serial, the story doesn’t end with this episode. In all, this episode includes seven chapters, enough to get you into the story proper and a fun read.

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