Friday, 26 July 2013

"The Ship" by Stefan Mani - Good read? How did I get on to John Carpenter?

Opening a new book by a new author (to me, anyway) is like exploring a new land. I know that sounds a bit of a wank but books are a great escape and a great way to travel in the mind. I saw on last night's TV news a volunteer program called "Footpath Library" where each night a van drops off a range of books free to the homeless in central Sydney. The rationale being so these people, living on the street, can escape into a good book. But I digress.
I grabbed "The Ship" from my local library. The blurb said the author, Stefan Mani, was "the Icelandic Stephen King". That sealed the deal. Scandi-noir is all the rage and Stephen King used to be my go-to author for spooky thrillers. The first 70 pages introduces the characters through cleverly interwoven incidents in Reykjavik. Then it moves on board the huge freighter, bound for South America. You know there is something evil afoot.
In the movies, having characters stuck in one place, whether it's an Arctic research station, like "The Thing", or a besieged police station in "Assault on Precinct 13" or a interplanetary vessel, like "Dark Star" or later "Alien") is a juicy suspense setup.
Stefan Mani writes a very 'cinematic' novel. He dips his lid to Stephen King with a quick reference to "Christine", comparing the book with the movie). Anyway, I'm only a quarter of way through, but things are chugging along nicely. Hope I'm not disappointed by such a flashy start. The stormy descriptions onboard are so vivid, it may cause the reader to feel a bit seasick.
I just realized all the movies I just mentioned (except "Alien") were directed by John Carpenter. Hope he buys the movie rights to "The Ship".
Finished book. Perplexed by the ending, but definitely kept my interest. Icelandic writers do bleak very well.

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