Thursday, 18 February 2010
REVIEW OF M.CHRISTIAN'S RUNNING DRY
Here’s a real treat coming up! M.Christian’s first ever novel; RUNNING DRY is scheduled for re-print! I don’t know the dates yet, but Christian’s debut novel is being published by Camel books. First published in 2006, it’s getting the recognition it deserves.
In RUNNING DRY, M. Christian, elegantly re-writes the eternal themes of love, loss, betrayal, fear and death. With a flourish of his pen (or lap-top and cursor) Christian gives us a potent potpourri, that has little to do with gracious fragrances and everything to do with the pungent stench of bodily fluids; blood, bile, saliva and mucus.
This is a vampire story with a difference. Unlike Anne Rice’s exotic, erotic Lestat and Bram Stoker’s sinister Count Dracula, M.Christian’s vampires are riddled with guilt about what they have to do to survive. Ernst Doud, paints his guilt, with portraits lurid with the blood of his victims. Doud has a conscience, and he makes it up to those he has killed with a visual, tangible lament. His remorse is palpable.
There’s a mystery here. Who is Doud? Who is Sergio? What is their secret? Why has Doud given up on his art? Why is Sergio trying to seek out Doud? Why does Doud want to kill Sergio? What is Shelly’s place in all of this?
Yes, Doud and Sergio are monsters. They know it; Vince is a monster too. But he’s worse; he’s a killer without a conscience.
There is no “dark trick” in RUNNING DRY. Doud, Sergio and Vince won’t spellbind you with a glamour. In the tradition of the most gruesome fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, or Angela Carter, they grab you, gobble you up; eat you. Your death won’t be romantic, erotic; sexy. Just complete, total annihilation.
The scene where Doud fights Vince in the desert, is terrifying. It’s visual; like watching a film. My heart is racing, as I read. I can feel the heat of the desert, scorching my lungs. I screw up my eyes, against the glare of the sun; the painful blue of the desert sky.
M.Christian, possesses a rare gift; that of making elegant, lucid prose appear effortless.
Just listen to this;
“…the world acquired sound, the ground achieved traction, the air thinned, the rose-red glow ceased. As his body slowed from the blinding acceleration Doud had forced upon it, the monster’s body completely disintegrated. A body once ninety-five percent water became nothing but a desiccated five percent, falling apart into dust, ash, and a few brittle bones; life and moisture gone.”
Don’t you wish you’d written that? I do!
As a first novel,RUNNING DRY, anticipates the promise of more delicious work to come. Christian has certainly not disappointed, following RUNNING DRY with THE VERY BLOODY MARYS, the haunting ME2, the disturbing PAINTED DOLL and the exploration of one artist’s character, in BRUSHES.
For me, RUNNING DRY is every bit as good for a second reading; better. Buy it, borrow it, read it. It won’t fail you.