Friday, February 28, 2014

Strangers, By Michaelbrent Collings...A Book Review


I'm convinced that most people watch shows like The Jerry Springer Show and Hoarders so they can feel better about them selves. "Sometimes my house is a mess, but it's nothing like that one on Hoarders," we say. So the last thing I thought I'd question after reading Michaelbrent Collings's Strangers, is my skills as a father.

Seriously, that's what went through my mind. Collings is in the process of converting his large library of published works into an audiobook format. This is the second I've read/heard. It followed the pattern of his other book I read, The Loon, lots of gore, terrifying situations and we cannot forget the blood (heaven knows Collings doesn't...). ;)

I like Collings style. He knows how to pace a story. Sometimes the small details in the dialogue or the subtle descriptions have the most impact. The story revolves around a family trapped in what is normally their most safe environment, their house, but soon their home becomes a prison and we have no idea if anyone will leave alive. What I found interesting is the story could have been written without any of the gore, terrifying situations and the blood. The characters are deep enough--each with personal horrors in their own lives--that the revelations of those secrets could fill the pages of a novel. Of course, it wouldn't be a horror novel, but engaging, just the same.

So, how does all this make me question my skills as a father? Collings creates a family where they are basically strangers to each other. They go through the motions of a "normal" family, but that's all. I kept asking myself if I acted in a similar fashion, acting the part, going through the motions. Then all the mayhem begins and those thoughts took a back seat to the action.

I'd like to think I'm not that kind of a husband and father, but even the best husband and father can do more. So, if I wake up and my house is shut off from the outside world with a killer on the loose, I'd like to think I'll at least know more about my family as we run from room to room being scared to death.

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