There’s been a plague lately, in my opinion, of great authors striving for subtlety in their writing. Taking a premise and, rather than allowing it to grow into something monstrous and completely unique, trimming it back so that you barely see the buds where there could have been roses. Or thorns. Big nasty thorns. I understand the reasoning behind it, in trying to make their work less fantastical, but I often disagree with the end results, left wanting more.
The Sound of Broken Ribs by Edward Lorn is the first book I’ve read that nails this concept. There’s a maturity here to Lorn’s writing that I haven’t seen before — and I consider myself a fan of his work. But while he lets this dark tale grow its wings he also doesn’t inflate them into balloons that fizzle and go flying around the room before petering out. Writing requires incredible balance, allowing your imagination to run wild while also pulling it back before it becomes unmanageable and ruins your story. I kept waiting for this to derail but Lorn rides that razor’s edge the entire story, teasing the fantastic while keeping you grounded.
And man, are there some big nasty thorns.
Breathing, flawed characters you come to sympathize with and a perfect balance of moments that make you cringe and others that will make your jaw drop, this is on my top 5 list for sure so far for the year. The premise may be simple, but the execution is what makes this book sing. Hats off E on a great story well told.
** Please note this book is currently only available as a special limited hard-cover edition from Thunderstorm Books. I received an advanced review copy of the book. This in no way influenced by review. **
A mysterious fog materializes out of nowhere, hiding what … monsters? ghosts? How about hallucinatory visions of what Minority Report would consider precognitive murders.
Oh, and that fog? It’s not what you think it is.
In Fog Warning, Lorn takes a familiar trope here and turns it successfully on its head, tying the material concept to the immaterial, with a “hero” who is in a constant state of fog due to an all too common drug addiction. The characters are well thought out and the inner battles Brent Cummings must deal with are but a reflection of the outer journey he’ll be forced to take. Some great gross-out moments tied to a mystery that works on almost every level.
If you’re looking for something different and equally disturbing, Lorn is an author who always delivers. Definitely worth checking out.
If you like your horror novels soft and gushy on the inside, your characters full of charm and redeemable qualities, and your plot lines strung along from point A to B to C, then go ahead and pass on this one. For anyone looking for something completely different, you’ve found your next read.
Cruelty, by Edward Lorn, is a magnus opus of a novel, with one of the most riveting openings I’ve read in a long time. Lorn wasn’t on my radar back when he released these as serials, so my review will treat this as a complete work rather than its individual parts. The set-up is daunting, with the back splash of a psychotic killer wearing a baby doll’s mask.
Or maybe it’s not a mask.
And maybe that’s not flesh beneath its clothing …
Told from myriad perspectives all centered around a town as screwed up as this story, this is a tale where no one is safe, there are no “good guys” to root for (unless you count the dog), and the baddies are so much worse than you could imagine.
I loved the mythology behind Cruelty and Forgiveness, and found the Withering fascinating. I could have spent much more time there. My only complaint is that often I found too much information or dialogue being doled out. As originally told in serials, it might have worked differently, but all together in one tomb I felt there were parts that could have been trimmed down significantly without sacrificing story or character. Lorn’s style of writing is so hypnotic that the infraction was easily overlooked, though I’m a big believer that cutting out the fat always leaves a better cut of meat.
All in all, a deliciously dark tale and one I would recommend to fellow macabre-loving souls. With this one, you won’t be disappointed.