This book was provided to me by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Lords of Salem by Rob Zombie with Brian Evenson
From the singular mind of horror maestro Rob Zombie comes a chilling plunge into a nightmare world where evil runs in the blood…
THE LORDS OF SALEM
Heidi Hawthorne is a thirty-seven-year-old FM radio DJ and a recovering drug addict. Struggling with her newfound sobriety and creeping depression, Heidi suddenly receives an anonymous gift at the station-a mysteriously shaped wooden box branded with a strange symbol. Inside the box is a promotional record for a band that identifies themselves only as The Lords. There is no other information.
She decides to play it on the radio show as a joke, and the moment she does, horrible things begin to happen. The strange music awakens something evil in the town. Soon enough, terrifying murders begin to happen all around Heidi. Who are The Lords? What do they want?
As old bloodlines are awakened and the bodies start to pile up, only one thing seems certain: all hell is about to break loose.(via Goodreads)
I did not finish this book. I don’t give up on books easily. I’m human; I’m vulnerable to hope and the sunk cost fallacy. I want to believe that every book will get better and that I haven’t been wasting my time. But while I am human, I’m not a monkey. Experience tells me that a writer will not improve over the course of a book and there are too many other books to be read to spend even more time reading one that is disappointing. After reading half of Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem, I couldn’t justify spending more time on it.
I will admit, I like Rob Zombie’s music. I own all his solo albums as well the better portion of White Zombie’s small discography. I intend to check out Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor when it’s released in April. I like that Zombie is a horror film fan and incorporates that into his work. I haven’t been super thrilled with the movies he’s written and/or directed. House of 1000 Corpses has some great moments. It’s shot with enough cinematic craft that those scenes can stand with many classic exploitation-horror flicks. The rest haven’t impressed me much. Still, I was interested in reading this book. I haven’t read a decent horror novel in ages.
The novel starts with the murder of a pregnant woman and her newly caesarean-ed baby during a summoning ritual in late 1600s Salem. This should be an absolutely horrifying scene. Instead, it wasn’t and *that* was the disturbing part for me. There are many gory scenes in the first 50% of this book, but all of them lacked tension. The writing, whether by Zombie or Evenson, is full of “seem” and “almost” and “something.” Things are “strange” or “different” or “weird.” All of these are weak words that mean very little and suck all the intensity from a scene. It’s lazy writing. As a writer, this might be the most important half book I’ve read. Through its lack, it’s reminded me of what writing should be and where I may fall short.
I have the feeling that Zombie’s vision of what’s going on wasn’t quite getting on to the page in any subtle manner. For example, it could be easier to short-hand Heidi’s addiction and recovery on-screen, visually, than it is to show it in the novel without saying “recovering addict.” I won’t talk much about the plot since I didn’t get further than what’s mentioned in the cover blurb. By the half-way point, I was no longer interested in how the story was going to play out.
The Lords of Salem is set to be released today, March 12th 2013, by Grand Central Publishing.
Why did I choose to read this book? Hoped to read a decent horror novel.
Did I finish this book? (If not, why?) No. By page 160 I didn’t care about how the story was going to play out. Was tired of vague writing.
Craft Lessons: I kind of fear that my own writing is vague, bland sometimes. Don’t use the word “something” more than once in a manuscript.
Format: Kindle ebook