2011 was my year to introduce myself to quite a few new authors, particularly of the macabre. Two of those writers I contrast in this post: Laird Barron who has gained something of a reputation as a name in the Lovecraft tinged field of fiction, and Richard Gavin, who has made very little noise, and I just stumbled across when surfing online.
Laird Barron’s book OCCULTATION, had much praise heaped on it, but finally read I found his attempt at weird fiction, somewhat lacking. Seemingly trying for the open-ended, obscure endings Aikman is known for, but without that writers capacity to make the journey entertaining and the ending compelling. Barron, for me, also lacks the beauty of phrasing of other writers of weird fiction, making his stories somewhat chore rather than charm.
In story after story, I found the protagonists not particularly interesting, and the ending unsatisfying. Final Verdict on OCCULTATION, it’s worth a look in the library, but not a purchase.
OMENS however, by Richard Gavin is something else altogether, it is engaging and captivating from page one. Richard Gavin having it all in this collection of stories… great prose/phrasing, imaginative stories, sometimes mysterious, sometimes harrowing, never less than page-turning. It’s a consistently addictive collection, some highlights being THE BELLMAN’S WAY and DANIEL. Final verdict… It’s a Buy!
Come back later for more of WHAT I’M READING!