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Bad Things - Michael Marshall

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3 Reviews

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Michael Marshall / Paperback / 400 Pages / Book is published 2009-04-16 by Harper

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    3 Reviews
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      28.07.2011 13:23
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      A fairly good read

      I picked this book up in Somerset when I was on holiday for £3 which I thought was a bargain. It's the second Michael Marshall book I've read, I previously read The intruders.

      Outline of the story:
      John Henderson's world is totally changed one day when his oldest son, Scott, dies abruptly on the jetty outside his house. With no explanation to his sons death, his marriage breaks up and he moves to Oregon to start afresh. All goes well until he gets an unexpected phone call from someone claiming to know what happened to his boy. Reluctantly, he returns to Black Ridge, where his son died, to try and get to the bottom of what happened. Little does he know, it's no simple explanation and as the story unwinds, he realises he's out of his depth with forces that he doesn't understand.

      It's a good read. Again Marshall has done a very good job of introducing the characters and letting the reader get to know them. He portrays the emotion of all the characters very well and really gets you pulled in to the story so you feel personally involved. There are some bits that do make you laugh, a few comical remarks which make the book a bit more fun to read too.

      I wasn't as keen on this book as I was with Intruders. Although the writing style is very similar, I found this book more mind boggling and harder to understand. There are parts where I had to go back and re-read because I wasn't sure what had just happened. After I finished reading the book I still wasn't sure what exactly had happened, and I ended up reading it again and then I found I had a better understanding.

      The storyline is really good, although I do think some things could have been better explained. It's an interesting read, with lots of unexpected twists and turns and an array of different characters that all play a small part in the story which I like because it makes it more realistic. It was good, but I didn't feel it was as 'addictive' to read as his previous novel. I didn't really mind putting it down, to give my brain a rest!

      I think Henderson is a very good writer, he goes into great detail and really helps you to picture the different places and people. One thing I did like about this book, more than Intruders, was the end. It was more closed and you felt that you actually know what happened, everything has been explained and you know it's quite final.

      Overall, I was a little disappointed with this book. I expected it to be fantastic because I really enjoyed Intruders, but I didn't think this was that great, I prefer things that are more realistic I think, and this is a bit more horror genre I think. I still think it's a good book, just not as good as he has done before.


      You can get this book for about £5 on amazon, or borrow it from the library which I'd recommend because it's not really a book worth owning.

      thanks for reading! :)

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      • More +
        06.07.2009 18:58
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        Someone turn this into a film please!

        I fancied something a bit more meaty for this years holiday, so took along Bad Things by Michael Marshall.

        The background to the story is the sudden and unexplained death of 4 year old Scott Henderson.

        Three years on, we meet his father John who is working as a waiter, when he receives an email claiming to know what happened to his son.
        Would you delete it as rubbish? Or would the curiosity and pain take over?

        John opts to find out if this is random rubbish, or something else.

        The story takes us along for the ride as John returns to Black Ridge, near where he lived and his son died.

        The writing is fast paced and gripping. However, the more bizarre aspects to the story and town could do with a bit more explaining. There were a few parts where the voice in my head was screaming 'What the beeb?' as some things come from nowhere with little explaining. But then, some things can't be explained...

        I enjoyed this book, and found it difficult to put down. One thing that i loved about this book was the ending. It wraps some things up from the story, like where the main people ended up and how they are. So many books don't do this little thing! After going on a journey with these characters, why do so many writers not bother to tell you answers to the little things!

        I could easily see this story made into a film, it certainly ran a film in my head as I read it - and it's not often I say that

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        10.06.2009 14:21
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        A return to his old home-town signifies nothing but trouble for John Henderson....

        What does the budding Dooyoo book reviewer do when everything he picks up to read turns out to be less than thrilling and something of a disappointment? (Don't even bother with Lee Weeks' The Trophy Taker- it was so mind-numbing I couldn't even be bothered to suggest it as a product for review!!) Well, he turns to an author that he has read and enjoyed in the past thats what. Especially when they have new books out that you have not even read yet....

        Michael Marshall is an author best known for his sci-fi novels (One Of Us, Spares and Only Forward) written under his full name of Michael Marshall Smith and for the Straw Men novels which took an original and satirical look at the concept of serial killers who work together in the belief that they are the next step of evolution. His last work, The Intruders was received to very mixed reviews and almost didn't know what to make of itself. A fusion between the supernatural and a more tradditional thriller, the book started well but then seemed to end up much more complicated than it neded to be. Still, as I picked this up in Tesco with the new Kathy Reichs, I was sure that this latest novel would be a vast improvement...

        John Henderson's life is shattered irretrievably when his eldest son walks out onto the jetty behind his home, keels over and promptly just...dies. Years later, with his marriage disintergrated and in little contact with his remaining son, Henderson has carved out for himself a new, and fairly successful, life for himself as far from his past as he can get. Then he recieves an E-mail from someone who claims to have more information about the mysterious circumstances involving his son's death and, reluctantly, he returns to the sleepy American town of Black Ridge where everything is not as it seems. And before he knows it, John Henderson finds himself caught up in a feud with forces he does not fully understand and fighting a power that has been in the area for a very long time. How does all this tie into the death of his son? Well, for that you are just going to have to read the book for yourselves and find out....

        Once more trying to create a mainstream fusion between the supernatural and more conventional story-telling, this book works slightly better than The Intruders in that much here, for much of the story, is left more to the reader's interpretation than in his previous work which thrust it's paranormal suggestions firmly in your face. This latest novel too, reads much more like his sci-fi novels both in style and in it's characterisation; Main character JohnHenderson is highly reminiscent of the leads in Marshall's sf work and would not be out of place in any of those books! In fact, you get a real sense that all Marshall's lead characters are based on a common idea and, having met Michael Marshall at a book signing event, it would be no stretch of the imagination to deduce that this idea is the character Marshall would most likely like to be if he wasn't a writer. Certainly he exudes the same air of mystery and subtle menace as his characters having shared the same room with him for almost an hour!

        The main story and plot in Bad Things are a little contrived and anyone who has either watched Silent Hill or played any of the later games will quickly grasp in which direction the whole novel is going. Certainly there are strong links to the Hill's Pyramid Head creation and the notion of a town brimming over with long forgotten secrets. But the whole scary American town hidden away in the back-woods has been done before and done better so don't come into this expecting anything new...that said, it is an enjoyable read that, although it falters a little in it's climax, has much going for it nonetheless.

        Or maybe I'm just too difficult to please at the minute....

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