Mannheim Rex

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By: Robert Pobi

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to review. As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.

This is the second Pobi book I’ve reviewed recently. The first, Bloodman, was a pretty good book, so when I saw this one come from the publisher, I was excited to get it going.  In my review of Bloodman, I mentioned that a majority of my early adult reading years were spent with my nose in a Stephen King novel.  I think one of the things that draws me to Robert Pobi’s works is they’re similarity to some of King’s early work;  there’s a good deal of psychological horror/thriller involved, but also a good deal of physical horror/thriller as well.

Mannheim Rex is a story about a writer whose wife has recently died, who is attempting to move on and find a new path in life.  In doing so, he decides that a change of location is needed and buys an old mansion on the shore of a lake in a sleepy little town called Mannheim.  From there, the story takes off.  Very little of the plot is ever slow or droll, and Pobi’s writing is excellent.  Unlike in Bloodman, I never really felt like there were plot devices that were being obviously overlooked, and when a device did surface (once you’ve read it, you’ll have to excuse the pun), it was somewhere unexpected.

Rex is a long book, and as many of them of this length are, has a few slower parts.  None of them was overly long, and usually did contain some information that was necessary to the plot.  I don’t mind a few slow spots in a book so long as they actually contribute to the story, and these did.

The book blurb describes the book as an homage to Jaws, which, given the monster in the book, is fitting.  Readers who are fans of Stephen King (especially his early-mid career work) will find Pobi’s work to be very readable.  I know I have.

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Blockade Billy

Blockade Billy

By: Stephen King

I don’t think I’ve ever made it a secret that I’m a bit of a Stephen King fan.  A majority of my early adult reading list consisted of early King works.  They were dark, mysterious, psychological thrillers that drew me in and held me until the book was over.  Many of his latest works, however, hold none of those properties for me.  Blockade Billy was no exception to that emerging rule.  Make no mistake, King is still a storyteller among storytellers.  He can craft a story like very few have ever been able to.  They just aren’t the type of stories that I fell in love with so long ago, and it becomes harder for me to anticipate each new one with the same vigor.

Blockade Billy is really a small novella sized book with two short stories in it.  The first, the title story, is a story about a baseball player who became known as Blockade Billy and the season that he saved, and killed, all in the span of a few short games.  It’s written in a bit of a strange method, as a sort of transcript of someone telling the story to King in an interview for a story.  It works.

The second story is called Morality.  It’s the story of a young married couple who just want to leave the big city behind and move to a nice little town in the country, but can’t afford it.  Until the wife’s employer offers a very lucrative deal.  All she has to do is help him set his morality aside and perform a sin.  King touches on many of the obvious topics of a tale of this type, but does so in such a way that they are never really expressed, but merely shown through the characters actions.  A hefty feat, but well done.

I must admit that I have very little idea what the idea was in combining the two into one book.  Neither has anything to do with the other.  It’s almost as if King had the baseball story that he wanted to release, but it just wasn’t long enough, so he found an old story that would help fill up the space and threw it in.  It’s worth reading, but I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for it and got it off of Paperbackswap instead.

Stephen King Fortune Interview

Stephen King (one of my favorites) recently did an interview with Fortune Magazine.  Here’s some video of it:

Some interesting insights. A couple of things I caught: He has a set schedule where he writes each and every day. He writes for at least 3 hours a day.

And the best quote from the interview: “If you drop a book into the toilet, you can fish it out and dry it off and read it. If you drop your Kindle in the toilet, you’re done.”