I admit I was expecting something funny. Instead, I found Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid to be as bitter as the root after which the author named his book. It is pessimism and cynicism with a little dark humor thrown in--not what I was looking for to begin my two-day reading project. It's my own fault. It was the only book in my To Be Read pile that even hinted it might make me laugh.
The best part of Horseradish, in my opinion, is the story the author tells in his ten-page Introduction. "The story concerns a woman who lived in a small grass hut with her husband in a remote village surrounded by an enormous field of horseradish, which is a very bitter root." The tale goes on to describe the woman's search for answers to a series of questions, beginning with, "Is life more than sitting at home doing the same thing over and over?"
Another reader might be delighted by Horseradish, so I won't pick at it any longer. After all, it only took an hour to read from cover to cover. The back cover reads, "Life is a turbulent journey, fraught with confusion, heartbreak, and inconvenience. This book will not help." I agree, but then, I don't think that was the author's intention. The book, published by Harper Collins in 2007, is priced at $12.99 retail, although amazon.com has it discounted to $5.49. And while you're there, please read some of the glowing reviews for this book.
So on to number two on the reading list: The Cold Spot by Tom Piccirilli. I'll blog more about this one (and the author, with links) tomorrow, because I haven't finished it yet. At least I had a better sense of what I was getting into when I chose this book. Piccirilli is well known in the horror genre, and has only recently taken to crafting mysteries. His books are dark, but well written. The Midnight Road won an International Thriller Writer award, and The Cold Spot was one of the five Edgar nominees for best paperback original this year.
I will leave you with the first sentence of The Cold Spot: "Chase was laughing with the others during the poker game when his grandfather threw down his cards, took a deep pull on his beer, and with no expression at all shot Walcroft in the head."
Yes! Must go finish this book.