Featured Post

Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Throwback Thursday – The Nestling by Charles L. Grant

note: I had completely forgotten I had an earlier run in with Charles L. Grant as an author. I’ve covered a couple of his Oxrun series books here and here. While I enjoyed those, I didn’t like The Nestling at all. I don’t think I ever got around to reading the Raven. I’ll have to check and see.

Jason Clarke is a reporter from back east that is summoned to the valley he spent part of his childhood in by a desperate relative. There is something wrong in Windriver Valley. First there were the animal attacks and then the deaths started which only adds to the tension between the Whites and Native Americans, who infused suddenly with cash started buying up ranches. The Native Americans buy them, but don’t work them cutting off the only source of money for the town. The local businesses, all owned by whites, suffer from the lack of money coming in from the closed ranches. Jason’s relative, Galen, expects him to sort out what is going on and tosses him into this powder keg. This in spite of the fact that Jason and his mother were run out of town after his father was killed after going on a bender. Jason realizes before most everyone else that there is something way beyond a simple disagreement or conspiracy and that that valley has been targeted by something evil. 

I had heard good things about author Charles L. Grant. That combined with the nice blurb on the cover from Stephen King (yes, I know you should never buy into those) convinced me to pick a couple of his books up from the local used bookstore. I haven’t read the other book yet, but I honestly have to say that I wasn’t all that impressed with The Nestling. The story is interesting and I’m always up for a good horror story that integrates Native American beliefs and folklore. But there are a couple of things that just killed the book for me. First of all there are just too many characters in the book and it gets really hard to follow who is who. Again and again I had to backtrack to figure out what character just got killed or beaten up and how they relate to each other. Really there are several minor characters that have their entire families mentioned in passing with the reader supposed to make those connections later on. If you don’t then the story makes no sense. What makes it worse is when you get the to the end of the book only to find out none of this mattered as it has little to do with the story and resolution! 

My second problem with the book partly relates back to the first. Like I said there are too many characters, but if that weren’t bad enough the book jumps between different characters and storylines constantly. Now I will give Grant credit all the various storylines do end up connecting in the end but this constant jumping between characters and story made The Nestling a very frustrating book to read. Just about the time that I had some interest in a character or had gotten into a rhythm reading the book it jumped to another character or story. Grant keeps shooting himself in the foot every time the plot starts building up momentum by stopping and restarting with new characters.

I know that this book was up for some awards when it came out in eighty two, but I found it a real chore to get thru and just didn’t like it. I can’t recommend The Nestling. That said I have the other Grant book, Raven, that I picked up and will give it a chance.  Maybe this one just didn’t work for me.

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

No comments:

Post a Comment