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"We will travel, you and I, across a tortured land where hope struggles to grow like seed in a drought. In this land, a place with no boundaries, we'll run the freeways and back roads and we'll listen to the song of the wheels and peer into windows at lives that might be our own, if we lived in that land." So Robert McCammon introduces this superb collection of 13 stories, nominated for a 1990 Bram Stoker Award for Best Story Collection. The standouts are "Blue World" (a richly imagined novella about a priest facing temptation); "Nightcrawlers" (a World Fantasy Award-winner about a Vietnam vet in a roadside diner); "Night Calls the Green Falcon" (has-been fictional hero dons his old costume to fight real evil); "Yellowjacket Summer" (fateful stop for gas in backwoods Georgia); and "Pin" (dare you to read that one). All of the stories are excellent. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Rapid-fire action alternating with intense introspection, plus imagery that conjures visions of movie special effects, make McCammon's ( The Wolf's Hour ) multifaceted collection of new and reprinted tales worthwhile despite some uninspired story lines. In the title novella, Father John Lancaster battles temptations of the flesh and becomes a better priest as he saves the life of a cocaine-snorting porn queen. At the end of the world, described in "Something Passed By," the laws of nature go awry: water becomes combustible, concrete turns to quicksand, people move swiftly toward old age or infancy. A Vietnam veteran's nightmares materialize in "Nightcrawlers," yielding terror and death for his associates. "He'll Come Knocking at Your Door" trivializes the Faustian pact by having the devil arrive for trick-or-treat on Halloween to collect his due. An old-fashioned cliff-hanger concludes each segment of "Night Calls the Green Falcon," in which a retired cinema superhero takes up his cape again to stalk a real-life prostitute's murderer.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
My special favorites are "Yellowjacket Summer" (a wrong turn off a highway), "I Scream Man!" (a special game of scrabble), "He'll Come Knocking at Your Door" (a frightening Halloween in a small town), "Chico" (an idiot savant with a special gift), "The Red House" (the significance of being different), and "Something Passed By" (the end of the world as we know it). So, if horror is your genre, do not pass up this collection of artfully crafted stories.
Blue World is short stuff at it's best. McCammon pulls no punches and is quite adept at pulling off some chills and thrills in the short form. Here are some worthy mentions of kudos.
"Makeup" is about a small-time thief who breaks into a museum and steals the wrong thing. He steals a makeup bag by a B-movie horror actor. His contact refuses to pay anything for it and the hoodlum tries the makeup on, to hilarious results.
"I Scream Man" is chilling and very good.
"Something Passed By" is an end of the world type doomsday short that is very entertaining and thought-provoking. It is one of McCammon's best.
"Blue World", the title, is about 175 pages of detailed description of a priest in distress about his obsession with a porn star. It is a very easy read; entertaining and thought-provoking about the things a priest must go through to test his faith. McCammon must have researched the adult industry becuase it is a very good accounting. This is just a great novella.
And as usual, you will have fun with anything McCammon writes. Let us hope he is coming back to the fold soon.
The highlight of the book was the first story, "Yellowjacket Summer." This story starts in a small town. Everything seems hunky dory. A kid who works at a gas station is talking to the owner about baseball...just a good old American day. Then a van arrives, running out of gas, and discover everything in the town is not as normal as it seems.
Another highlight was the Green Falcon story, where a retired actor decides to take care of the bad guys himself by donning his old super-hero uniform. The title story, Blue World, puts us right in the middle of a priest's struggle with his faith manifested in his obsession with a porn star.
All of the stories in this book were enjoyable, but these just stood out for me. In my view, McCammon is second only to Stephen King in the horror field, so if you like short horror fiction, this is definitely the book for your.
Oh, and if you're wondering why McCammon isn't publishing his work anymore, it's because he wanted to branch out into other genres (namely, into mainstream fiction) but his publishers put constant pressure on him to write horror.
"Blue World", a collection of several short stories and one novella actually entitled "Blue World" is easily the finest horror collection since the days of Poe, and I don't think thats an exaggeration. McCammon's stories differ so greatly, dealing with so many plot, issues and characters, each one brings you into a separate and chilling world from the surreal, apocalyptic world of "Something Passed By" to the gritty, realistic, and quietly visceral 'real world' of "Blue World". The stories induce equal amounts of terror and wonder, and the highlights are (aside from the entire book) "Pin" - an absolutely bone-chilling narrative from the point of view of a psychopath who seems very real, "Doom City", "Night Crawlers", "He'll Come Knocking At Your Door", and the absolute best, "Blue World" itself. The final story is a frighteningly involving, realistic story of temptation and violence, dealing with outer demons in the form of serial killing maniacs, and the inner demons of a gentle priest slowly losing his grip on his faith. It's a brilliant psychological portrait as well as a stunning, violent serial killer story.
Read this collection. It's already won several awards. Its a shame that McCammon doesn't seem to be writing anymore, because all of his books are just as incredible as these stories.
Most recent customer reviews
McCammon has a rich imagination whose talent is commensurate with King, Koontz and other contemporaries. Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2012 by Jeffrey Swystun
If you haven't read this one yet, you must. After you do, you'll try to tell people about it and find that you can't. Read morePublished on April 15 2002 by Aleph Null
McCammon delivers an excellent short story collection. You will get hooked on his writing style immediatly. There is plenty of gore and twists to even keep R.Laymon fans satisfied. Read morePublished on March 16 2002 by codi heart
If you have ever read a book and wanted to actually visualize the scenes taking place on your mind's movie screen - then read anything by Mr. McCammon. This is an exceptonal book. Read morePublished on June 21 2000 by Dan Boice
Pin... Holy cow! What was going through your head when you wrote that one, Mr. McCammon? I'd say that this book was mostly good. Read morePublished on June 19 2000 by Matt C. Stedman
This book is a real page-turner, because the stories are really amusing and furthermore very different from each other. Read more
This is Robert R. MCammon in top form, without doubt. After a long time I managed to finally get a hold of this book, and I am both happy and sorry that I did so. Read morePublished on Jan. 21 1999 by Edward Gordon Brown
It is difficult to find a better assortment of tales that are off center. The beauty of the short story is that it takes you somewhere else, somewhere new in short order. Read morePublished on Feb. 16 1998