PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteMr. Hill presents us with well-crafted dark morsels of mystery and terror that pull back the veil of reality to offer glimpses into the most vulnerable places in the human psyche ... The 13 stories in this collection, two of which were co-written with Mr. Hill’s father, Stephen King, span a range of ideas and moods. The subjects are varied, many tapping into themes we have seen many times before, but reflected in the fractured mirror of Mr. Hill’s imagination.
PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteMany World War II histories focus on soldiers and tactics that we rarely hear about the real day-to-day life during wartime that lingered well after the battles were over. In this biography by Robert Matzen, the third in a series chronicling the World War II experiences of Hollywood stars, the reader sees the consequences of war on the average citizens who live in its path ... In this thoroughly researched, book Mr. Matzen looks behind the veil of Hollywood glamour to reveal the stories and experiences that never left her.
PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteLike any good magic trick, there is much more going on in this book than is readily apparent. While the obvious through line of Magic Is Dead is a behind-the-scenes look at magic and the reveal of the52, it is also a skillful misdirection that allows him to introduce the reader to many other topics as well ... In one chapter he describes a meeting with Shaquille O’Neal where they discuss the loss of their fathers, and though this seems to be a complete diversion from everything else in the book, in terms of its humanity it may be the most magical thing he writes.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette[in 'Snapshot'] Mr. Hill tells a tale of great heart, a story of nostalgia and of forgetting ... [in 'Loaded'] Mr. Hill is able to take these somewhat stock character types and imbue them all with empathetic humanity, even when the reader is appalled by their actions ... Within the context of this fantastic premise [in 'Aloft], Mr. Hill provides a meditation on loneliness, wish fulfillment and how sometimes the images we create in our own minds prevent us from seeing reality ... Joe Hill has given us long novels and short stories. It’s good to see him flex his authorial muscles with a different form. Weather changes and we never know what to expect. The same is true for great writers.
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...Joyland is a Stephen King novel. As such, though there is indeed a crime to be solved, it is filled with more of his usual fictional tropes than it is with bare-knuckled adventure ... The supernatural plays a bigger role in the story than classic detective work ...is more of a coming- of-age-story than crime fiction. It is Mystery as Memoir and has much more to do with the complexities of life and living, and the death and dying that goes along with it, than it does with murder ... If you pick up Joyland expecting Raymond Chandler or Mickey Spillane, two of the great pulp crime novelists this series claims to emulate, you may be disappointed. If you're looking for a good Stephen King book that pushes all the buttons he is good at pushing, then Joyland makes for a great summer read.
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteJerusalem is dense, both in terms of physical size (nearly 1300 pages), as well as for the ideas it contains. It is a modern attempt to emulate James Joyce, and as a result it may vie with Ulysses as the best book no one has ever read, even though it probably should be. I found the experience at times draining and difficult, but in the end felt rewarded for my effort and attention. Mr. Moore’s prose is rich and complicated and at times ponderous. Once you slip into the rhythm of it, it is also poetic, insightful, and beautiful.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteLike all of the best end-of-the-world scenarios The Fireman speaks more about current events and the world around us now than about the reality of any fictive future ... The Fireman is a harrowing look at what lengths humans will go to create what they believe is a safe space, never realizing how dangerous they are making that space to those they deem as outside the community.
PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteTrouble Boys is a well-researched and thorough examination of their career, from the earliest days of their lives up through their recent reunion tour in 2015...There is an exhaustive index of sources, including magazine articles and interviews from the time period as well as more recent interviews with the surviving band members, their families, friends, and other players in The Replacements saga. The interplay of the views of the past and the present offers a sense of contrast and perspective, revealing a richer understanding of what took place.
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteEach chapter ends with a playlist of the music he discusses as evidence for his ideas. Given the easy availability of all of these, the reader is able to immediately listen to everything that has been discussed, allowing one to actually hear the ideas as he frames them. This multimedia aspect of Every Song Ever creates an added dynamic to the text, exposing one to a wider soundscape.