I finished the book I was reading yesterday, so I wanted to jump into the review for it as soon as I could. I also found out yesterday that I will have a week off between Christmas and New Years, so I'm pretty excited by that. I can really use the time away from work right now. I'm tempted to put in a vacation day next week to get a one day head start, but at the same time, I want full weeks paycheck! I will likely just wait it out and work the full week. Anyway, the book I finished up was called The Nightcrawler by Mick Ridgewell. This will likely be my last book review of the year. I have one more book to read from the stack of books I bought a couple of years ago. After that one, I will have to figure out what to read next.
Scott is a guy that helps find and sell exotic cars. After making an important deal in Detroit, Scott is asked to drive a restored 1969 Charger back to L.A. in order to try to sell it. The owner is hoping to sell the car, but Scott isn't all that interested at first. After missing his flight back home, Scott decides he will drive back in the car. Seeing it as a way to relax and maybe play some golf along the way, Scott heads out. Before he leaves though, Scott bumps into a homeless guy who asks Scott for any spare change. Scott doesn't like bums and isn't nice at all to this guy. As Scott makes his trip across the country, he keeps seeing this bum...but that would be impossible, right? Meanwhile, Roger is fresh out of high school and is planning a trip of his own. He has been wanting to go see the Grand Canyon before he starts college in the fall. Against his mother's wishes, and his girlfriend's as well, he takes to the road by hitching. It would seem the two are going to meet.
This makes the third book by Mick Ridgewell that I have read now. This book came out before the other two did, but has nothing to do with the other two books. The story here is a bit on the slow side. Ridgewell takes his time telling the story of Scott and Roger. I didn't know anything about Roger because he isn't mentioned on the back cover, but he gets mostly equal time in the story. The chapters tend to bounce back and forth between Scott and Roger, with Scott getting two chapters in a row at times. I was a little confused over who Roger is since he isn't mentioned on the back cover at all, so it was a little strange that he becomes a big part of the story. Both characters have strange things happen to them over the course of their journey. Scott keeps seeing the bum who calls himself The Nightcrawler and sometimes Matt. Sometimes the bum is made up of nightcrawlers, so I guess that is where his name comes from. There is also a crow that seems to follow Scott at times as well. Roger has dreams about a red car that is new but old running him down. He is also visited by his sister who died many years ago and is followed by the same crow that follows Scott.
The Nightcrawler is 258 pages and the majority of the book has the two character unaware of each other. We follow them on their respected journeys. Scott eventually meets and travels with Ashley for a while, and Roger eventually meets Beth who travels with him. Their stories play out slowly, which gives us time to get to know each character. My only problem was with Scott. I liked the character, but the story started to make me wonder if seeing the bum everywhere was just in Scott's head. Ridgewell hints that it isn't by the end of the book, but it was hard to say leading up to that since we don't know much about Scott's past. Same could be said for Roger and Ridgewell actually voices this with Beth some. She gets worried about Roger and tries to think if she ever has seen him take any kind of medication. Even though the stories are a slow buildup to the end, there are just enough weird things going on to keep the story interesting from a horror standpoint. The weird things seem to affect each character differently. This stuff seems to be driving Scott insane, while Roger is confused by it all but mostly keeps a level head over it.
My biggest problem with The Nightcrawler is that I could never figure out what the point of it all was supposed to be. It was obvious the two would meet at some point, why tell each story if they weren't going to meet? It was also obvious that the car Roger dreamed about would be Scott's car. Scott has conversations with the bum about everyone having their place in society, something Scott seems to disagree with because if you don't have a job then you aren't adding anything. It is a good lesson, but nothing is ever really done to prove the bum's point. Roger gets all kinds of warnings as to what is about to happen to him, but they go unheeded it would seem. All this made for some spooky stuff at times, but I could never figure out what the point of it all was.
It takes most of the story before the two even lay eyes on one another. I believe it was around 50 or so pages left when it finally happens and then a few more pages before they actually interact, sort of, with each other. One cool thing about the story is that we discover that Scott and Roger share a moment in their past. I thought that was a nice touch at least. Roger got pretty annoying with me after he meets Beth because it is obvious the two get along great but Roger isn't sure if he wants to be in a relationship. Something happens between Roger and Beth's family that puts Roger in a good light with them all, and now he wants to be with Beth, only for Roger to think about leaving Beth behind again. This back and forth got annoying with me, but I guess that is a teenager for you.
I also liked but disliked the ending of The Nightcrawler. The way things wrapped up for Scott was interesting, to say the least, but with Roger, I thought it felt a little rushed. Even so, The Nightcrawler was a good book. Despite the slow pace of the story, it kept me interested in it and I got through the book fairly quickly. I didn't really have a problem putting the book down when it was time for me to go back to work, which a great novel does that to me. I want to say that I'm not sure how well the slow pace of the story will go over with readers, but I think it works better in a book than it sometimes can with a film. Check this one out if you can find it someday. It is a different kind of horror, but it is still worth checking out.
3 out of 5 Someone should have went fishing