During rush hour traffic, a loud trumpet sound blats across the landscape with ear-deafening volume. Auto accidents, plane crashes, and fires ensue. For a carpooling foursome, they end up as one of the casualties and after the dust settles, they find their driver with half his head missing due to a length of pipe from the truck ahead of them poking through the windshield and shearing off his cranium. Now Steve, Charlie, and Frank are trying to shake off the shock of what happened and make their way home. They discover that, when the trumpet sounded, people all across the world disappeared. Where they went, no one knows, but many different rumors are being circulated. As the trio attempts to stumble home, they learn about the duality of man’s behavior during a crisis in an up front and personal way.
Take The Long Way Home is Keene’s version of a what might happen on Judgement Day. It blends King’s The Long Walk with the Bible and makes for an enjoyable read. As always with Keene, it’s about the characters, and he drafts very personable ones. The journey is worth the price of admission here and the unsettling feeling of nervousness of what is lurking around the next mile marker is thick, making this a real pager turner.
4 Guardian Angels out of 5
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Earthworm Gods: Selected Scenes from the End of the World is a tribute to Brian Keene’s fans. People paid to have themselves as characters inserted in his Earthworm Gods mythos. Keene interviewed each person to get a feel for them and then created a short little story where they star in getting killed off in uniques ways inside his deluge. While I think it’s a very cool thing for an author to do, it kind of loses steam about half way through the book.. What was once a cool read turned into a chore to get through. His writing style and characters are always interesting and well done. Unfortunately, by the time I got towards the end, I felt like I was seeing deleted outtakes from a movie that I had watched. Now while this is cool seeing a small handfull, it begins to get really tedious as it goes on…and on…and on…
So, Earthworm Gods: Selected Scenes from the End of the World, is only for those that have read Keene’s previous two wonderful Earthworm Gods stories and you may want to bite of a little at a time to keep from the indigestion that you will surely fall vicitim to if you try to eat all of this in one sitting.
3 out of 5 stars (less)
Although sequels are rarely as good as the original, Earthworm Gods II: Deluge was close. Keene follows the same format as the first book. The first third takes us back to the flooding mountain in West Virginia where we’re introduced to Henry, who is trapped in the top of a grain silo and escapes to meet up with our survivors from the first Earthworm Gods. In the second third, we meet another band of survivors in a catamaran yacht. The two parties meet up with each in the climactic last third of the book. Along the way, we’re greeted to more Lovecraftian-inspired monsters and themes as Earthworm Gods II evolves from a monster movie feel to one of a Lovecraft-inspired world of fantasy. Keene also ties in LeHorn’s Hollow from his book, Dark Hollow, as well as slight references to characters in his zombie novels The Rising and City of the Dead. The only downside, to me, were the characters. While Keene still delivered the goods, the characters in the first EG, Teddy and Carl, were superb. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with the characters in EG II as much as I did with the ones in the first one. That’s not saying that the characterization was poor. It’s more of a tribute to how good those two were in the first story. All in all, I’m liking what Keene is doing with his saga and can’t wait to jump into the next one to see where it leads.
4 out of 5 stars
An autobiographical short-story that Keene serves up and let’s us see a brief snippet of a painful and haunted period of his life. In what he describes as 99.9% true, Keene relives a painful period of his life where a car accident outside his house claims the life of a young girl. At first, the events haunt Brian as they mix with the personal turmoil that he was going through at the time. In the end, he learns a valuable lesson. The tale he recounts will cause the hair to stand up on the back of your neck and the way he lets you in and allows you to take a peek at his personal life is very powerful. I have yet to see an author allow his readers to see this much of themselves, warts and all. It also gives me a new found respect for a writer whose work I already admire. Thank you, Brian.
5 out of 5 stars