These days it seems that for every good book I read, I have to start, and abandon, at least one dud. I can't be bothered to do full reviews of every turkey I come across, so here are three mini-reviews of two books I gave up on, and one that I ended up skim-reading. Consider yourself warned.
Carter & Lovecraft (2015) by Jonathan L. Howard
review), commissioned to write this tie-in novel for an upcoming TV series? The premise is that a descendant of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft teams up with an ex-NYPD cop to fight supernatural baddies of the Lovecraftian variety. Howard is an excellent writer with an amazing ability to meld steampunk, horror and humour, and he does so with fluid, smart prose and a lot of originality. In Carter & Lovecraft, Howard takes all of his strengths as a writer and tosses them out in favour of a narrative voice that's supposed to sound American, but comes across as second-rate Lee Child. The story is slow, the American setting is poorly realized (Howard is a Brit), the dialogue and banter between the main characters is awkward, and the horror, by the time I abandoned the book at the one-third mark, consisted of one mildly unpleasant death. I hope they paid Howard well, but he should have used a pen name. He has a reputation to protect.
The Color of Smoke (1975) by Menyhert Lakatos
The Road to Little Dribbling (2015) by Bill Bryson