Stunts by Charles L. Grant was published in 1990 and the hardcover edition I was reading had 438 pages. I couldn’t finish this book but I did manage to force my way through 161 pages. Unlike Broken, I was just getting interested in the story when I had to return it to the library on March 12th. And, because my car has decided to give me attitude, I didn’t know when my next visit to the library would be, so I couldn’t check out anymore books.
Here was my biggest problem with the book, what I read inside the jacket didn’t match the actual story, at least not up to page 161. The book is called Stunts but there was only a paragraph or two about the town’s stunts until around page 125. Up to that point it was about a man named Evan who was from the town where the stunts were a local tradition. The title and jacket insinuated the stunts were the heart of the book and I don’t think it should take 125 pages to deliver the reader to the heart of the book. At least give me some extended glimpses before then.
I’m kicking myself for not writing down the jacket copy when I had the book – I couldn’t find anything online – but my bahookey is getting sore so I’ll stop kicking now. I did write down a passage that really caught my attention. I thought it was an excellent use of imagery.
Naze squinted up the drive. A hawk too old to hunt anymore, but not too old to remember how. He sucked at this teeth.
And please don’t take any of this Note to Self the wrong way; Grant was a good writer, there’s no doubt about it. But something was definitely off with this story or maybe just in the way it was delivered or maybe the jacket is a trickster. I won’t know for sure until I finish the book. Whenever I do get back around to it, I’ll reply to this post with my final thoughts.
Below is a synopsis from one of the book’s publishers that is oodles closer to what I actually read:
An American professor working in England has a bizarre encounter with an acquaintance, who seems to have acquired supernatural powers and an urge to kill. Back in his home town, a traditional day of practical jokes threatens to take on terrible overtones.
Sounds good, right? Yeah, I’ll give it another go the next time I go to the library.
Have you read any of Grant’s work? What’d you think?
Charles L. Grant official site
Whilst looking for info on Grant and Stunts, I stumbled across Terrifying Tales of Ghosts and Horror, which I had to add to this post since I’m on a never ending quest for dark fiction.