D. Ryan Leask
on June 24, 2011 :
In a Nutshell:
Daniel Lawless is a bachelor detective who prefers shoes over people. What he once thought of as a gift to help him escape the constant torment of school bullies becomes a nightmare when he starts seeing visions of dead bodies, and the visions are real. Along with a local cop, the beautiful and young Sandra Jensen, they set out to try to stop the unstoppable monster from eating it's way through the population of Modesto, California.
Everett Powers, you have written a masterpeice of thrilling horror! I immediately fell in love with Daniel Lawless (although a detective named Lawless made me roll my eyes but am used to it now). I knew I was going to love this book because of the last line in the second chapter:
"Modesto needed a Dirty Harry, a man of action who carried a big gun he wasn't afraid to use, but what they got instead was Daniel Lawless, a man who carried a small gun he preferred not to use, a man who liked shoes."
Now only thing that detracts from the story, I am afraid to say, is that it has a number of simple typos that really need editing.
Everything about this story has made me very excited to continue on and I spent most of the weekend sneaking a few pages in whenever possible. Wow, just wow. Blown away.
Thoughts Upon Completion:
On one hand I am sad that I've finished one of the best books I have read for a while, on the other hand if there had been much more action I may have had a heart-attack! Somewhere I read that writers should avoid having too intense of action for too long, Everett pushed the envelope on this one but it did seem that too much was happening, day break hit and all slowed down again (Daylight is the monster's only weakness).
I found myself at times questioning what the author was doing with the story and why he was taking it that way, at one point I thought he was "Spielberg"-ing it (To Spielberg is to introduce aliens into a plotline for no apparent reason or because you don't know where to take the story, in other words, if all else fails, add aliens, for example, A.I. and Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull). I was wrong, the direction was necessary and made perfect sense. the story was always able to overcome this with proof of need and history to back it up.
I loved this story, I loved the characters, I loved the monster, I loved the storyline and how Lawless could see through the eyes of victims before they were going to be killed. He was indiscriminate with the victims too! there is one scene where a young girl is about to get gang rapped by a group of boys. Of course you root for the boys to get killed and the girl to escape, nope, they all die!
The only issue I have is the concept of "The Leader", it brought a level of 'preachiness' that I didn't think was necessary and could have been toned down or eliminated, not all stories need a moral, cause the moral to this story is, don't walk so close to the canals or you're gonna get yourself eaten!
There was only one thing that reminded me that this fantastically well written story wasn't written by someone backed with a slew of editors and publishing clout behind them, simple mistakes, nothing plot breaking but more the run of the mill type:
(these aren't actual quotes from the book)
-Frank had a good look at he. (should have been her)
-All of the pretty horses had beautiful golden manes of gold. (beautiful manes of gold or beautiful golden manes)
-I did see numbers spelled numbkers once as well
There was enough of these that it caused me to stumble and re-read a few sentances.
I stand by my saying that this is a "masterpeice of thrilling horror". I have no idea why I keep wanting to compare it to Stephen King's It but I do (I hate using Stephen King as the touchstone of horror writing). I also would have to say that this would make one hell of a 3D horror movie that would scare the crap out of millions of viewers and I don't think it would take much imagination to make a screen adaptation (except for what needed to be cut to fit it into 120mins of action).
5(1st Impressions)+3 (Editing)+10 (Overall Story)=18/20 (☼☼☼☼☼ )
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on March 14, 2011 :
I was hesitant to read Canals. I usually read Nora Roberts or other romance novels, but I was in the mood for something different and I like scary movies so I thought I would give it a shot. I downloaded the sample pages, liked it and bought the book.
I’m glad I did. It reminds me a little of Stephen King movies. What I mean is, it’s scary, terrifying at times, but the characters are well developed and the story veers a little into sci-fi territory like a lot of King movies. I’ve never read a Stephen King book so I can’t contrast Powers’s writing style to King’s. (I’m sure King writes better seeing as how he’s sold millions of books.)
The monster is everything a monster should be: terrifying, relentless, bloodthirsty, and unstoppable. The two main characters, Detective Daniel Lawless and Deputy Sandra Jensen, develop psychic powers they can use against the monster.
I was pleased there was at least some romance in the book. Chapter 5 was particularly steamy. Lawless and Jensen are soul mates, “made for each other” as Jensen says in the book. Turns out, that was literally true.
The book ended in an unexpected way, which was good. I won’t tell you what happens to the main characters because it will spoil the surprise. The monster gets killed, though. The good guys win!
I live in California, too, where the book takes place. We have lots of canals in our town, too, like Modesto. I have to admit it’s a little spooky when I drive by a canal now. And I see them all the time, everywhere. Before I never noticed how many there were.
So, I’m recommend this book to my friends and family, the ones I know like scary stories. It’s an easy read.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
on March 10, 2011 :
I read Canals in a few days and liked it a lot. Powers builds the monster up as being unstoppable, then surprises you with how they finally kill it. The plot is fairly straightforward, there aren't a lot of extra characters or story lines to try and keep straight. The entire story takes place in a few days so it's pretty fast-paced.
Characterization is good. Not great but good. Prose is rough in places (must be his first book) but not distractingly so. One chapter has some steamy scenes. I wasn't expecting that. Between that and a vicious monster that eats people, I don't recommend it for youngsters or people who don't like horror novels.
The sample chapter at the end of the book looks good. Can't wait for it to be released, hopefully here on Smashwords where I can buy it for $2 or $3. :)
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on March 10, 2011 :
Canals is a good read. That's my short summary. I wouldn't have been mad if I'd paid $5 or $6 bucks for it. At $2 it's a steal.
So you know my tastes, I like older Dean Koonz books (I find his newer books tedious to read), most of Stephen King, and every John Sanford novel. Canals is like some early Koonz books and some King books: a little monster, a little sci fi, some psychic stuff. Characters who might live next door to you. I'm not saying Powers writes as well as Koonz and King, just that his story line is similar to theirs.
I give it 4 stars because 5 stars should be reserved for the best of the best. Too many people give every book they read 5 stars.
Get it if you like scary stories or early King or Koonz books.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)