The Place of the Lion
The Place of the Lion by Charles Williams, 2/5
This is the fourth of Williams’ supernatural thrillers that I have read, and by far my least favorite, since it consists mostly of hallucinatory spiritual ramblings and very little plot. This is all the more disappointing because what little story exists is very interesting: philosophical Ideas (Strength, Beauty, Subtlety, Wisdom, etc.) from the angelic realm emerge into the sleepy English countryside via their representative animals, consuming people with varying effect depending on each person’s tendencies.
Why I read it: I’m working my way through Williams’ novels.
War in Heaven
War in Heaven by Charles Williams, 3/5
I’m not going to pretend that I understood the more esoteric implications of this bizarre spiritual thriller, but I certainly did enjoy its zany plot, humor, and original take on the ever-popular search for the Holy Grail. It’s not a particularly well-crafted novel, but it’s hard to fault a story that opens thusly:
The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse.
Why I read it: After my introduction to Charles Williams via All Hallows’ Eve, I wanted to read some of his other “novels of the supernatural,” of which War in Heaven is the first.
Killing Floor by Lee Child, 3/5
This has an entertaining and well-structured, though by no means unique, plot. The writing style is unintentionally hilarious, with short, macho sentences and strangely frequent occurrences of the word “graunch” (ok, maybe three times doesn’t count as “frequent,” but it definitely is strange).
Another trademark is the use of numerous minute observations and descriptions, which have no plot significance and, combined with Child’s limited and repetitious vocabulary, lead to some strange effects. One of these is “The Sucky Rubber Door Seals.” Having initially described how the police station’s “plate-glass doors…sucked against rubber seals” and “sucked shut” (7), Child proceeds to use this exact description with a frequency that can only be described as weird. For example, on page 50, the “big plate-glass door of the station house…sucked against the rubber seal.” Page 131: “…the big glass door sucked open.” Page 150: “the station house door sucked open.” Page 246: “I heard the glass door suck open.” Page 449: “Pushed open the heavy glass door against its stiff rubber seal.” Weird. I’d have to say that the doors aren’t the only thing about the book that sucks… Still it’s a fun read and, for a first novel, even impressive.
[Why I read it: I heard good things about the series from my dad and, though I hated the movie, I thought the Jack Reacher character had potential to amuse.]