Book Review – The Shining

I first read Stephen King’s The Shining 25 years ago as a teenager but I couldn’t really remember it. My memories were blurred by Stanley Kubrick’s amazing adaptation (I don’t know why SK doesn’t like it! It’s so much better than his own TV adaptation.). So I’ve read it again in preparation of re-reading Doctor Sleep – which again I can’t even remember, other than being disappointed – ready for watching the new movie which is released on 31st October 2019. What a perfect movie for Halloween.

I collect Stephen King’s books. I have different versions of many of the books, because I love the different covers. I have three copies of The Shining, here are two of them. The other is the Jack Nicholson mass market paperback cover.

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I loved every page of The Shining, it actually exceeded my expectations and even scared me in places – that elevator coming to life! Those hedge animals! It’s a shame neither of those elements are in the movie. I ignored my own writing deadlines to read this, whilst not wanting it to end. I do prefer the book’s ending to the movie’s version. Jack is a great character and I’ll always see him as Jack Nicholson. The Overlook is an amazing hotel with a grim history that explains why it’s haunted, and Colorado has a special place in my heart because of this book. I actually set Where the Snow Bleeds there and drop in a little mention of ‘that hotel up near Estes Park’ as a nod to my love of this book.

So imagine my delight when a friend told me there was a review of my book stating it reminded someone of The Shining!

This may now be my favourite Stephen King novel, knocking IT off that top spot. The recent movie adaptations of IT really put me off but I’ll always have fond memories of reading it over and over as a teenager and wishing I was in the loser’s club.

So next for me is a re-read of Doctor Sleep. I’m looking forward to seeing what happened next for Danny and his mum.

October – the season for horror

October is one of my favourite months of the year because I grew up reading horror books and watching horror films and October is perfect for indulging in both. The nights are closing in and the heating is going on, which is perfect for shutting the world out and pretending you’re in your own (safe) horror story. In fact, the first short stories I ever tried writing were horror, although cheap imitations of Stephen King. I still have a couple and although they’re pretty bad, I can see where I was beginning to learn the rules of grammar and dialogue which helped me become published in the future.

The first short story I had published wasn’t quite horror but it was dark. It’s called Blue and it later turned into my first ever novel – The Girl Who Died. It’s about a teenage girl whose best friend dies. It starts with the main character – Hannah – laying next to her best friend’s body. We don’t know at that stage whether Hannah was involved in her death and why she died. Hannah also features in my latest release – Where the Snow Bleeds. Unfortunately, her life doesn’t get much better in that! So yes, my writing definitely has a dark side to it! It’s hard to avoid that when you’ve been the victim of horrific crime from a young age because your life takes on this darkness that it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to darker subjects for my writing and reading choices, and to my favourite season of the year; autumn. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy lighter subjects and comedy, but light and fluffy just doesn’t interest me. Unless it’s a cat! That’s another reason to love October – Halloween and cats.

The photo above is of Teddy – my youngest cat – when he was a kitten. I don’t dress him up for Halloween (there’s no way he’d even let me) but his ginger colouring fits the pumpkin season perfectly!

So, October for me will be filled with writing my next novel, reading some favourite horror books and watching new and old horror films. One of which is Paranormal Activity 3. The PA films were great when they first came out, really different from other films in the genre. But they peaked at the third film – that camera on the oscillating fan was genius and creepy as hell! I watch it every year now. I’m not a fan of slasher horror and I can’t watch people being tortured, but I love paranormal and psychological horror. My next release (early 2020) – book 3 in the Dean Matheson crime thriller series – gets pretty dark and features some horror classics but I can’t really say any more than that yet!

After October we’ll all begin the countdown to my next favourite time of year – Christmas! (Sorry!)