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on Sep. 12, 2011 :
The Conover family – Jeff and Lee and their children Allison and Michael – are driving across country, moving from California to Illinois. This in and of itself is bad enough, but then they notice that they are being chased … followed by an uncanny, large woman and her three children. What does she want with the Conovers? Why is she trying to kill them?
I must say that this was a freaky story – after reading it, I think it will be awhile before I start wanting to take a cross-country trip again … The slow build-up of suspense and eeriness is beautifully done, creating a slowly increasing tension in the reader. The action is seen from multiple viewpoints – sometimes we’re with one of the Conovers, sometimes with Mama or one of her children, sometimes with a Nevada patrolman who ends up getting caught up in the whole mess. On some occasions, the author will show us the same scene from different viewpoints, so we can get a full appreciation of exactly what the characters are going through. It is a highly effective ploy and the reader becomes quite attached to the characters. And, since this is a horror novel, that really is a pity …
Nicely done! Horror aficionados should definitely check this one out!
(reviewed 71 days after purchase)
on Aug. 09, 2011 :
Mama is the epitome of a thriller, with lots of twists and turns, monsters, and a healthy amount of gore! While primarily a horror novel, there was also the underlying story of a family and their struggles in life. Both stories worked hand in hand and each made the other better and more complex. The action was non-stop, and so was the creepy factor! Mama and her children were very unique villians, and absolutely make me want to rethink any possible road trips in my future.
I think the characters made this story for me, as much as the plot. The Conover family is headed back to Illinois after Jeff's career as an actor has hit a dead end. His wife Lee, although she won't admit it to her husband, is more than happy to not live the Hollywood life. Alison is your typical angry teen, furious at what she sees as her father's failure and how it is "ruining" her life. Of all of them, 9 year old Michael was my favorite character. He was sweet and smart and just a lovable kid. Mama and her family, even though the villians of the story, were relatable in their own way. Mama came from a different world, a world in which you had to be hard and cruel to survive. In her own way, she was trying to teach her own children an important lesson. I never thought I would find a murderous villian a sympathetic character, but there were definately shreds of humanity with Mama and her kids.
I think this was a very unique twist on horror, with a very engaging plot. I wouldn't recommend it for the under 17 crowd necessarily because of the level of gore, but I definately recommend it for those who love a good, creepy read!
(reviewed 84 days after purchase)
Benjamin X. Wretlind
on July 05, 2011 :
At its core, Mama by Robin Morris is a thrilling, edge-of-your seat chase thriller. However, the thrill of the chase is secondary to the development of the characters--both protagonist and antagonist--as they are each faced with circumstances that are unfamiliar. It is a fun read, easy to get into and packed with scene after scene of relentless action.
The Conovers--mom, dad and two kids--are on their way back to Illinois after Jeff Conover's failed attempt to find work as an actor in Los Angeles. The action starts and ends on this trip, and as one who has taken the same route as the Conovers through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and into Colorado, I appreciated the descriptions and detail Robin Morris uses to set the scene. There is a hopeless feeling--even an empty one--knowing the land is so barren that help may be too far away. This, in itself, can elevate the stress levels, but throw in a crazy Mama (who may not be what she seems) and her three kids hell-bent on death, and the stress level is sure to go through the roof.
I enjoyed my time reading Mama. It is well thought out and pieced together with care. There are a few bumps in the road, but nothing that would throw you off the path.
(reviewed 32 days after purchase)
on May 16, 2011 :
Starting out somewhere around Richard Matheson's "Duel", heading down the road a pace past "The Hills Have Eyes" and ending up somewhere even Lovecraft would be hesitant to approach, this book is an enjoyably creepy read, perfect for the summer reading list or, dare I say, for those long trips in the car. It's got good character development, a truly unique villain, and an ending fit for any summer blockbuster. Well worth a read.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)