The Only Child by Andrew Pyper (a book blurt)

Every week I go to the library to pick up movies or books I’ve reserved. I also do a quick browsing around to see if anything interesting might catch my attention, and this book sure did. I decided to start reading it as soon as I got home and I finished it close to four hours and 284 pages later. A pleasant surprise was finding that the different settings in the book included Budapest of all places, among other European countries I that I recently visited; it was interesting to recognize so many places. However, the story was equally captivating. It’s about a highly regarded forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Lily Dominick, whose life takes a twisted turn after seeing an unusual patient, a criminal who claims not to be human. Rather, he says he was artificially created by an ambitious, but misguided scientist.

The patient’s claim is not so much what makes Lily sees him as different from all the heinous criminals New York delivers to her office. Rather, it’s his claim of being at the scene when her mother was murdered. At only six years of age, Lily witnessed her mother’s violent demise. As their conversation continues, the details he provides, and his startling claim of being her father, starts the story spinning into a suspense full of uncertainty and supernatural events. The story also explains how the legends of Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula came to be told.

Well-written and engrossing, the book makes me want to read more of what Andrew Pyper has written. This is a beginning of a new readingship. I am listing the books below as I finish reading them.

The Damned

 

The Writer and the Swimmer

Tucked somewhere near Santa Cruz, but not well-known to locals or tourists, is an expanse of beach dotted with patches of shrubbery and occasional palm trees.  Perhaps because the generous acreage is private property, deeded to an obscure trust, few have ventured into the area. Jim Stanger was an exception to this rule.

A few degrees of connections were all it took for Jim to temporarily rent for the summer the California beachfront bungalow that sat by itself under the sun. With no roommates to deal with nor anyone else in the vicinity, he felt he could finally settle down and write his Great American Novel—a longtime ambition he is determined to realize during his summer break.

After a week of succumbing to the lull of the ocean sound whooshing against the sand, he begins each day drinking copious cups of coffee. For every gulp, he taps on his laptop keyboard, aiming to fill several pages per day of whatever inanity comes out. In time, he finds himself being able to string together a coherent story, easily starting from where he left off the prior day. Eventually, he starts to feel wrapped up in the dream world he’s created.

One day, as he finishes a rather involved passage, he glances up, looking out to the horizon to give his eyes a break. A fleshy bit of color swimming in the ocean catches his attention. He squints to better focus his eyes but whatever it is soon disappears from his sight line. For some reason, he feels spooked since he hasn’t mingled with a single soul for a month now. He’s stocked up for three months’ worth of food so he wouldn’t distract himself with runs to Trader Joe’s. He goes back to work again.

The next day, a different rhythmic sound from the ocean interrupts his usual engrossed state. Something about the pattern of the splashing is different from the regular lapping on the shores he’s become accustomed to. He looks out to the ocean and is rattled to see the same fleshy swimmer he saw yesterday, except today it seems a little closer.

In the following days, Jim gets progressively alarmed as he notices that the swimmer gets closer and is staying longer in his sight line. He starts to notice the ribs etched on its chest, although he can’t really tell whether the swimmer is swimming on its back or front. But, the closer it gets, he’s seeing features he’s never seen before on any person. He can’t tell if it’s human, even though the fleshy tone looks familiar.

One morning he wakes up sweating, partially because all the windows are closed and because he’s afraid of what’s been approaching the beach. He decides to pack up and go back to his hometown in Kansas City. His attention is shot; he can’t write anymore.

Weeks later, ensconced in the comfort of his armchair, Jim is watching the morning news and sees a piece about a sea lion festival very close to where he was staying in California. The few images he sees looks similar to what he thinks he saw.  He guffaws and suddenly feels like a buffoon for hightailing from such an innocuous creature. With lifted spirits, he decides to go hiking to the state park and come back later to write, feeling revived and inspired.

As Jim finishes his hike, he sees the beautiful view of the lake. From the corner of his eye, he sees a movement in the still lake. Swimming a few feet away is another fleshy looking creature. It’s just like California. But it looks nothing like a sea lion.

Photos by blogetta

Walking with the Enemy (a movie review)

I usually reserve films from my library, so I can watch them in the comfort of my home. When I came back from my vacation in Central Europe (Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary), I received notice that a couple of movies were ready for pick-up. One of them was Walking with the Enemy, which is based on true events, although the characters themselves are fictional. The hero is a young Hungarian Jewish man, Elek Cohen, who joins the Labor Force during World War II, thinking it would be a way to help serve his country even though the Force has only Jewish people serving. He soon realizes the work he and his fellow countrymen are providing is met with harsh punishment if they show any signs of physical weakness. He eventually escapes with a friend. When they go back to their village, they find their families gone and their non-Jewish countrymen living in the houses where their Jewish friends resided. Elek is determined to find his family, which soon leads him to Budapest. There he witnesses the terrible fate unfold on those of Jewish heritage that happened toward the end of the War and Hitler’s rule.

He soon goes underground with the help of an acquaintance, Hannah Schoen, with whom he had flirted at a social club many weeks before and has come across again while in Budapest. Hannah’s uncle turns out to be working for the Swiss Council, which agrees to give passports to a fixed number of Jewish people to emigrate legally to Switzerland. However, by making more than the allotted amount, the Council hopes to save even more Jews by secretly delivering them to the Hungarian Jewish citizens. In the middle of all this, the Nazi presence continues to dominate and a Hungarian fascist group, the Arrow Cross Party, allies with Hitler. Together they round up the Jewish people to get them out of the country and into a concentration camp.

One night, Elek ends up killing two drunk German SS soldiers, as they try to molest Hannah. He and his friends bury the dead soldiers in an unmarked grave. Later, the death of those two soldiers turns out to be fortuitous for Elek and his friends because of their uniforms. When one of Elek’s good friends gets captured by the Nazis, he decides to save him by digging up the dead Nazi soldiers and taking their uniforms. He disguises himself as a Nazi SS soldier and pretends to have orders to take into custody his friend. With the successful rescue, Elek wears the uniform again and again, successfully executing similar types of rescues, often saving many of his countrymen at a time. Tragically though, as history later tallied, from Hungary alone, 500,000 Jews were exterminated.

The film has suspense, romance, and historical highlights. It was good timing that I was able to see this movie after learning so much about Hungary’s history during pre- and post-Hitler times. The pictures below are some taken from my trip in Budapest. They depict how the Hungarian Jews had to flee immediately because of the evil that fell on their country, and the world.

Psycho Secrets: Terence Tourette Tucker

You’re invited to haunt Dead Donovan. Come see what’s in store for a bit of horror. Thanks for the memeries.

SlasherMonster

A man with filed incisors who claims to be a direct descendant of Count Dracula. He’s a serial blood drinker who dubs his victims Bloody Mary. He hides in shadows, comes out at midnight and hovers outside first floor bedroom windows. At night, he’s been known to whisper, “Come out, come out wherever you are.”

He was caught red handed when he met his match with his last victim, who was a heavy tequila drinker. Terence sucked her dry so fast, he himself became inebriated. So much so that when he tried to escape, he stumbled over his cape, conveniently wrapping himself to go for the police.

  1. Take your medication, and then try to solve Terence Tourette Tucker’s riddle
  2. Leave a comment
  3. All participating lunatics will have a link to their website placed underneath the crazed bat

!!** Terence Tourette Tucker’s Riddle **!!

What is sensitive, cries, comes in different colors, and is invisible, but…

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