Josh Reviews: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

Posted July 27, 2012 by Joshua Burns in / 0 Comments

Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

Title: Hemlock Grove
Author: Brian McGreevy
Publisher: FSG Originals
Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Published: March 27, 2012
ISBN #: 9780374532915 / 0374532915
Genre: Horror
My Copy: borrowed
Rating:Paw RatingPaw Rating
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An exhilarating reinvention of the gothic novel, inspired by the iconic characters of our greatest myths and nightmares.

The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

I was looking forward to reading this book. Its cover was subtle. Unfortunately as you can see I did not like it which makes me wonder why I am doing a review for it. It must be because I think it’s hip to be reviewing it. The book is being picked up as a TV series for Netflix to be directed by Eli Roth. Its author is supposedly speaking for all the disenfranchised werewolves and vampires of the world who want their thirst for blood back.

As if the book were some blocky Golem who only had said goal imprinted in its wax, the book only manages to impress the reader with its dreadfully muddy appearance. Within the first two pages we have the protagonist bumping into a schizophrenic hobo while the cops discover a brilliantly mauled corpse. The catch is it is not our werewolf protagonist doing the killing.

The author uses some ancient names to spice up both his protagonist and his vampire partner but they remain essentially what they are, two teenagers playing Hardy Boys. The concept sounds promising even the writing can at times. Disappointment, however, quickly sets in as you realize that the author isn’t going to give us anything but surface. I do not think I could tell you what I had figured by the end. None of the characters are developed for more than a few pages before we skip perspectives. And this book suffers from skippage like a disease. Sure…it allows for some quick reading and I’m sure it will make a much better TV series than a book but I really wished I hadn’t been led on so much by the numerous unresolved implications.

Chapter to chapter consistency is pretty bad. Sometimes we are reading e-mails. Sometimes we are reading interviews. But there remains no pattern just the continual mumbling of Ouroboros as if it were both a dreaded prophecy and a bioengineering program. Sad fact is I don’t think it’s either. In many ways, I, at least, like the notion of a highly literary type tackling the werewolf and vampire program but this guy took himself too seriously and couldn’t puncture the surface. Lord knows he tried.

Recommendation: Best suited for your inner epileptic, a book littered with blackouts and somewhere far beyond it, somewhere (I don’t see how you could get there by reading) a light
Like this, like that: For better or worse, I don’t think there’s a book quite like this. The font used in the book reminded me of Cormac McCarthy and this has some of that high-tail language but then the plot is like True Blood in an acid bath and all of the explanatory parts are missing. Sure some books can work by making you connect the dots but this book needed, at least, another hundred, maybe, hundred fifty pages for that to work.


About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Reviews UF/PR novels with an eye for weres of all kinds.

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