Review: The Book of Paul

The Book of Paul
The Book of Paul by Richard Long
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oh what a word, one of my favorites and one that fits all aspects of this gorgeous amalgamation of craziness and story arcs throughout the book! But wait, which definition applies to this book?

Syzygy (astronomy), a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies
–This book involves Hermetical teachings, some that may fly right over your heads like those celestial bodies, do not fret though, you do not have to get that stuff to enjoy this read! Just blow through it like I do in battle scenes of epic fantasy novels.

Syzygy (astronomy), a straight line configuration of three celestial bodies
–Oh yes, definitely! This is truly a love story and not just between Rose and Martin. The aspect of eternity can be seen as a theme with everything in this book. What you read it and do not agree? Come on think about it! I will win this argument just like I won the ones about how it is not a cupcake without frosting and how Avatar is a Western (do not even try to win that one!)
Syzygy (mathematics), a relation between the generators of a module
–Numbers numbers numbers…. the wheel is all about numbers. 1+1=2 right? The cards are all about numbers, Martin must have equal and balanced aspects in what he wears, what he carries or his OCD goes ballistic. Where as Rose is OK with just having odd aspects mixed in with the even. She is OK with “prime” qualities instead of constant equalities. And William… Paul? They are to freaking selfish and must have them all!

Syzygy (poetry – specifically Greek poetry), the combination of two metrical feet into a single unit – where one consonant is used repeatedly throughout a passage, but not necessarily at the beginning of each word.
–Honestly, I caught several examples but if I start talking about that I may lose half of you. Just think of it as something quirky and clever …. that aha! moment when you take a sip of your coffee and go, “Wow how cool was that, he just brought it back to….” ya one of those… so no worries I have some great material to get to the meat of this puppy!

Syzygy – (X-Files) an episode of The X-Files
–OK seriously, this was on the bloody list and I am going to say, yes it fits! I about fell out of my chair laughing my rear off, in fact I could probably write a pretty decent thesis argument just around this. The show was made for the fans. It addressed several complaints and questions (will Scully and Mulder finally make-out [yes they did finally make out and more but at the time the writers were not having any of that PERIOD], would Mulder let Scully drive the car [seriously fans bitched about this?? Sheesh people are such philistines at times!] and all of this was because of some “rare planetary alignment” effecting the behavior of everyone in town, including two murderous teens (again with the bloody DUO of DEATH)

Where do you start with all that info? See how each can be applicable, if what I say is true (*giving you the death mask again* what I say is always true!) I am going to do my best to expand on the above ideas while reviewing and convincing you to go buy the book and read it (*giving you my death mask*…you will buy the book and you WILL enjoy it…).

Let’s start off with a few basics for you interested readers. First, this book is NOT for the faint of heart. It is a book which should not be expected as a quick weekend read. Which is one reason my review was not up and out there yesterday like I was targeting it for. That and I kept falling asleep and going into this screwed up fairyland full of bloody altars, crucified squirrels and a moose with a key around his neck *shuddering*. This is a dense read; literary fiction folks, there are no sparkly vampires frolicking through cedar trees or a love spell written in frosting on that cupcake. This is a thick porter house steak, dripping in blood and still moo’ing as you saw into it with a lovely Wüsthof steak knife.

I read Tarot, in fact I read with the Thoth Deck which is a creation of Aleister Crowley (the crazy and very infamous Occultist who believed the Necronomicon was a real book and had long drawn out correspondences with H.P.Lovecraft over the years of those wonderfully loony mens lives, both which have brought me much pleasure in mine). Something Crowley wrote popped into my head when I read the word syzygy within the pages of The Book of Paul:

“A curious conflict this of love and fear…”
Aleister Crowley from his Coll. Works ii. 77

This wraps up a lot of what the book talks about. There is pairing and duality, the main aspect of anything involving syzygy. You cannot have a true aspect of a singularity within the definition of this word, well ideal and philosophy and.. and…. I do not think there is a way to give you spoilers with this complex story, you just have to read it so I will be doing a bit more sharing than I usually do. (*slipping death mask on again* you want to read this book, this book is amazing, it will change your life…)

Any successful pairing, be it numbers, or spices or people, must start with a single idea or thought or spark of energy. It grows as more things are added, and as Paul enlightens us, it never dies; “Energy cannot be destroyed” (loc; 6893). But it still needs to be created and fed additional energy, that spark of chemistry between a man and a woman when you “see” them for the first time, I mean really see them. When Martin looks down at Rose and she up at him amidst the fluffy down comforter and their sweaty bodies right after they meet and umm do a special dance, it clicks and the energy is and will continue to flow, to grow to become …. indestructible. (BTW Richard gets a 6 out of 5 stars on his sex scenes and for those that do not get that joke, refer to this post when regarding how much importance I find when adding a sex scene to a novel)

Aha! Martin and Rose, the love story right? Well yes, it is… well one of the love stories in the book. There is the love for Rose that William has, our fourth-wall breaker, the orator of this tale, the Kelly family story teller. Another spoke on this grand wheel of characters. His love of Rose is intertwined with and branches out to that of knowledge and of death. His photographic memory allows his love of knowledge to grow exponentially and his love of it turns into his obsession with objects of death; ie: from my teaser last week “…up to thirty or even fifty, written by another sicko, each and every one of them covered with the skin of their victims.” These are books that William loved, coveted and had an intense relationship with. Is it a duality? Yes the duality of conflict within himself. How can one be as obsessed with such morbid and macabre items steeped in the blood of countless victims and still thing of himself as a good person? Oh man, that is a dicey question, and for the answer you best crack this book open because that would be a spoiler! (*my death mask slips on….*)

There is the love between Martin and Paul. A damaged boy’s love for the man he thinks of as his father, if not in blood (or could it be? oh I am being bad… *death mask slipped back on* go buy the book… read it.. you will LOVE it..) This man, Paul, mysteriously appears in his life and as a child all Martin has known is fear and a darkness by the hands of his mother. The syzygy of lightness and darkness…The darkness of the cellar, the darkness of her moods balanced with the rare light from his visits with his Aunt Norine, where cuddles and happiness reigned.

Paul brought with him another form of love, as only a man can bring. His love of control, of death, a detached death. Martin learned how to kill as a child and he started with shooting rats at the dump. Sounds pretty bleak right? It is very and this damaged boy turns out to be someone who recognizes the right kind of love in the end. Another turn of the wheel.

Am I stretching this a bit? Perhaps but love can mean many things, just like those four trump cards above, as Richard explains in his guest post. Paul happens to more than a little resemble one of those trump cards, The Devil. In the tarot The Devil can represent a irresistibly strong and unscrupulous person. Wait, that is Paul.. oh and it gets better, the card also can be representative to ambition, temptation, obsession… someone who has a secret plan about to be executed…(yanking hard on that wheel to break through the rust) Oh yes indeed. This is Paul people. Plus Paul, it seems is made up of pure energy for he may or may not have been around for quite some time. This is where I will leave it for if I went on about the transmigration of souls it would get murky and I would lose you. Let’s also say this plays into the syzygy of the mathematical aspects, for numbers make up everything, math can be found in all things as so many stories having used the Fibonacci sequence have shown us. I am pretty sure you can grasp that one… but I really am digressing and I want to get a move on here!

Over all by the end of The Book of Paul we have been fed with Hermetics, sadism, masochism, blood, death, damage, lightness, love, violence, god building, crucifixion, resurrection, obsession, body modification (I am so needing ink and a new hole punched into my body now) and in it all the wheel keeps turning. Life moves forward, where it will end with this book depends on who does that final crank of the wheel.

Who will end up standing, even it is barely, with his head still on? Will the Malestorm rip someone part? Will any come away still whole, or at least almost as they were with only some parts missing? Will some of these parts be assimilated and absorbed into another? Isn’t this love? A chemical reaction of energy?

Syzygy is about a pairing, be it two numbers, two people, two sparks… a hammer pounded into the head of a nail… and to make these things work there are opposites, the magnetic poles on a parallel path; such Martin and Rose or William and Paul. Each damaged, each with different obsessions, each with different goals and in the end fitting together and balancing each other out, creating an extra spoke in that wheel, or perhaps a pole to thrust in and cause a crash of monumental proportions that no one, even one who has lived hundreds and thousands of lifetime sees coming…

Love is the syzygetic ideal of this story. But it left some sparks behind, which found some other sparks and I have a feeling the next six books are going to blow my mind as much if not more than this one. I wish I could keep going because I did not even come close to touching the core aspects of this book, I have already gone on to much but if I were to sum it up I would have to say this:

“The Book of Paul a twisted, festive, life & death tale dragging us from sunlit rooms into the dark corners of our minds one hammer swing at a time.”

The book is one of my top reads of 2012, no question about it. In fact Geoff even wants to read it and that is no small feat as many of you know! I am going to rate this a full five of five whacks! *death mask slips back on* Go …buy it now, it is only 99¢, what do you have to lose, I have never steered you wrong this book is a bloody festive romp of delight into those dark recesses of your soul that you would never admit you like… kind of like William’s little collection of skin covered journals…

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OH sweet fears and horrors of mine… The Emotion of Horror, A Review: Lakebridge: Spring

Lakebridge: Spring
Lakebridge: Spring by Natasha Troop
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is a running theme here on my website, a theme that fits within sub-genre under the title of horror. But I have an issue with the term genre. When someone asks me what genre I read, I run my mouth off with a list of things that apparently fit the bill but frankly I read from where it has taken me emotionally, psychologically, intellectually and even physically. Horror is one of these things. It is not a genre, It is a term used by the masses because we as a society find the need to label everything and fit it in its own special little niche.

As children we are afraid of the shadow of a tree branch across the quilt that grandma just tucked around us. We continue to have our heart rate increase as the clown that lives in the closet starts moving the boxes of old clothes around on his way closer and closer. The gurgling of the toilet is actually the alligator your brother told you about right before you went to sleep by yourself for the first time in the guest bedroom instead of the kids room with the babies. As we grow older our fears are laced by the world outside those bedroom walls. We are tainted with real world horrors, the terror of the falling towers, the death of our grandmother, the sniffle our child has turning out to be something so serious it requires them to be hospitalized, our imagination is lost to real world. However in the case of a well written tale of horror, the author infringes our psyches, bypassing rational thought and stroking the fears and terrors we put into the back of the closet behind the box holding that quilt that used to keep us safe.

The experience I had was layer upon layer of different emotions which the characters pulled from me, dragging me into the closet of my childhood, and under the bed and clawing me from the safety of my cabin. To say I was a bit excited to find something which aroused these feelings of terror, which made my heart race, made me exclaim an “oh my god!” as a surprise turn in the action threw me off the cliff with the brambles in the bottom, and not the one that would have landed me in the drink is an understatement. I sat up, or hunkered down under the covers, I had to really pay attention or I would end up drowning under a bridge.

Oh yes, the bridge, just what is up with the bridge? It is New England,and Vermont, the beauty of the covered bridge is sprinkled all over the area. I used to live in New England and I remember driving every weekend to some corner of a small county just to see a covered bridge, or some other in the New England flavor. I am a huge fan of Lovecraft so living where his stories were wrought from was exciting and I live to experience, and breathe through my mouth, tasting life, not just sniffing politely in the corner of a coffee shop. I have a distinct memory of my first covered bridge, it was not anything special, that bridge but I remember looking into the shadows, not seeing the light at the other side, but of the way my chest tightened at the idea of walking through the shadows in the middle of the bridge. When I read Lakebridge, it was the thought of those shadows from my wanderlust years that popped up. As I have stated before, sometimes a bridge is not just a bridge. It drew not only me, but it drew the inhabitants of Stansbury. Each stating different reasons yet truthfully they are not. Is the bridge evil? I believe it is a symbol, a physical statement of what I believe Stansbury is.

As you can see, I find myself having difficulty describing this book and what it is about. It is about a small town with each character described and built much like Chaucer‘s characters within the pages of “The Canterbury Tales“, they embody the idealistic ideals of each member of a small town populace. The town sweetheart, our school teacher, the town quirky storekeeper, Gil who runs the gas station all tourists stop at, even the serial killer plays a very solid idealistic and necessary roll. There is hope, love, terror, birth, death and it is encapsulated and expanding, stretching from clearest of skies, the darkest stormy nights.

So go get that quilt from the box in the closet, making sure you shut the door tight behind you, Tuck yourself in and begin your own experience in the cycle of Lakebridge. Oh, that shadow? Do not worry, it’s just a tree branch, I swear!

(pssst head over to Cabin Goddess for an exclusive recipe from a restaurant from the book and for a chance to win this beauty and the second one in the Lakebridge Cycle thus far!)

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Review: Blood and Whiskey

Blood and Whiskey
Blood and Whiskey by Clark Hays
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grab a beer, a bowl of peanuts or a martini and some brie cheese or if you are not a human? “There’s no reason to get all pissy, Have something to eat. Or someone, I guess I should say.” (location 150) grab the book and enjoy yourself. I know I did AGAIN with the second in the series.

I discovered this original blend of two of 20th centuries greatest book selling subject matters, cowboys and vampires! How can you say no? The two authors are a husband and wife team who came up with this little endeavor over coffee, pie and cigarettes at a lone truck stop in Oregon. It was two people from two different walks of life who concocted an idea to test the waters out with one of the hardest relationships other than marriage ever, co-authoring. Kathleen with her scientific and journalistic background and Clark being the poetry writing cowboy brought their two worlds together and ended up with this incredible tale.

Funny, this truck stop just happens to be a lot like the diner in Wyoming we often find Tucker sitting at while pondering over what to do with all the new visitors in town, who happen to be vampires and his girl’s new subjects. Oh ya his girl just happens to be the new Queen of the vampires who is carrying his baby, conceived before she was turned by the man who turned out to be her father. Dark? Yes, but it works! Trust me!
“Vampire-sicles,” Tucker said. “There’s a flavor that ain’t gonna catch on at the Tastee Freeze next summer.” (location 1903)

This wonderful edition to the Cowboy and a Vampire series, of which there must be more, lots and lots more, Blood and Whiskey, incorporates the original mythos from Stoker of vampires with the evil that is inheritance in their hearts and soulless bodies (or are they?). Blend in with the raw power of a cowboy story, stir in a little comedy and MacGiver type puzzle with Tucker’s buddy Lenny who can make a vampire killing weapon with a toaster, duct tape and some wooden pencils and puts a whole new spin on the phrase ‘whip-its’.
You might be redneck vampire hunter …”That was a compressed air stake-launching zip gun. One shot, one kill. Uses them little ready-whip containers for whipped cream.” (location 1737)

Add millennial old politics of vampires who have worked hard within their own hiarchy to balance the evil in the Adomite (human) world by only draining and killing the evilest of the human race, well most of them. There is one group of the vampire race which we were introduced to in the first book, the Reptiles whose new spokeswoman has become the right hand woman to their new queen, the dark sensuous Elita:
“All the while my Reptiles brethren have been breeding like rats and feeding on whomever they wish,” Elita said. “Fulfilling their biological imperative while you dither about mystical edicts and destiny.” (location 551)

That kind of covers both the groups. While nine of the families of the race of vampires work hard at their “mystical edicts and destiny” and feed on the evil of the Adomite world, the Reptiles are drinking blood infused cosmos and martinis feeding on the blood and sex of any human they wish. This book is more then dark and bloody dreams and politics. It is more than a miracle baby gestating in the new undead queen. It has transcendental poetic dreams that make up the mystery of the beauty and ritual of the turning. Our double wide living, coffin dwelling queen Lizzie gets a glimpse into the beyond showing us the possibility of what happens beyond the death of both humans and vampires alike. A dark beauty of a true sembiotic relationship which is facing the turn of the 21st century and all the realities involved.
“Then all those conspiracy theory people who talk about the Illuminati, or some group secretly controlling the world, they’re right?” asked Tucker. “It’s all a bunch of Vampires?” (location 2732)

I realize this makes it seem a bit of an overwhelming story, but blend all of the above with the raw power of a cowboy story, the realism of the simple cowboy life that Tucker brought into Lizzie’s world and it balances out. There are lots of wonderful moments of comedy, sometimes light and sometimes dark. Many books have tried to answer the question of how vampires can survive without being killers.
“Well, where the hell is Plush, Oregon?” (location 1036)

We’ve had those that live on rats, sparkling ones that hunt deers, and lets not forget True Blood, which I hear tastes awful! Humans have been called cattle and what would a cowboy book be without a book that milked humans as well as slaughtering cows under the same roof. The stark and evil reality of how quickly this could go south for the human race is brought to a head and only the miracle of the Turning can stop it. The first novel left us with a great many questions left unanswered, book two answers them and also raises more, keeping fans like myself waiting with baited breath to see what comes next. I recommend this to anyone who loves vampire stories that do not involve glittering in the sun, or lunching on rats in the corner…Until then anyone for cocktails?
“Anything I should know?” “Yeah. Do not mess with Lenny when he’s pissed and strung out on government uppers.” (location 1234)

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