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Ay I m only reviewing this so that if I ever mistakenly pick this up again in the future I will have a warning in place to steer me to something else insteadI first read this as a stupid teenager and enjoyed it The book starts off great but then meanders into an antiuated jumble of overwrought writing and cringe worthy narrationIn the narration which is omnicient at times and not in dialogue or a character s thoughtsHis yellow smile to describe an Asian person s smile I m sure some will write this off as a sign of the times in which this book is written same as fuckwits constantly and consistently come to bat for Lovecraft but I don t ike it and this is my review so go kick rocks Beatrice Besides I m not reading this back in the day I m reading it now and nothing in here stands the test of time Like I said stupid teenager me oved this book Emphasis on the stupidsilently groaned after much discussion on Twitter me and several others came to the conclusion that this must be the author s way of rolling his characters eyes without saying as much Straub has a bad habit of this shit going out of his way to spend twenty bucks on a wordphrase when the obvious choice is the one on clearance for a nickel This is the very meaning of pretentious attempting to impress by affecting greater importance talent culture etc than is actually possessed silenty groaned DOES NOT MAKE SENSE I m only sharing this one bit but this book is packed full of shit Natural Blonde like silently groaned which only makes the authorook ike a try hard at best and a moron at worst I mean come on a groan is a sound You can t do it silently for fuck s sake On Twitter Straub said he wrote Floating Dragon to uote Get stuff ike that out of his system I d hazard a guess that Straub followed up that one with this one because he wanted people to take him seriously which is a shame because his novels Ghost Story and Shadowland are classics While FLOATING DRAGON isn t horror gold ike the aforementioned classics it was fun in places whereas this book is a depressing mess of jokes that don t and and goofy Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda levels of ambiguity and carries a horrible sense of I SHALL EXTRAPOLATE AS I POLLINATE MY FISCALLY MASTURBATORY COLOSTOMY CAKE WITH GRACIOUS EMBALMING OF YOUR JOCULAR MENSTRUATION Babar is sad friends Finally some silly ass dialogue and situations turn much of this book into an unintentional comedy Balancing horror with humor isn t anything that can be confused with one of Straub s strong points For exampleSLIGHT SPOILERS BUT NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PLOTview spoilerThere s a woman who sticks a cigarette in her vagina and the man who s with her thinks This is getting deep Even if the joke is intentional which I fear it is it s dad jokeevels of badwell if a nine year old could be a dad hide spoiler If you ve thought about reading Koko then Be Like Mike and Just Do It Stephen King fans may appreciate this book and know about the connection with his friend Peter Straub These two guys are ike bookends in the horror genre At times they even have a similar way of writing But Koko is its own thing It s not ike Straub s earlier book Ghost Story saw the movie have yet to read the book To me that was horror Koko has horrific acts psychopathic killer atrocities committed in war But mostly Koko is a mystery a character study and a weird psychedelic trip inside a killer s mindStraub s plotting continuously alternates between the straightforward and the confusing I d ike to think this is deliberate and that Straub is toying with the reader Otherwise how could he manage to keep us interested and guessing throughout one 550 page book et alone three Oh and if you didn t know If My Love Were a Fire Truck: A Daddy's Love Song like me Koko is the first of three books in the Blue Rose trilogy So justet me say that I Write It When I'm Gone: Remarkable Off-The-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford liked it If there s a problem it s how the story meandered At times I became aittle vexed Who are you Koko Four American veterans of the Vietnam War believe they know who he is and just where to find him Yeah not so easy guys I realized at some point that I was the cat in this cat and mouse game with Straub continually pull the rug out from under me But I continued to guess That s half the fun of reading so I m than willing to be the cat when the story is a decent one A thanks to my EC buddies This one took us awhile but as always the group read experience makes for a better read This is the epitome of mysterythriller writing penned by a master of Ready for Summer literary fiction at the height of his powersFour men bonded by the horrors of war reunite to hunt one of their own when a series of brutal killings a world awayeads them back into their shared pasts to face the specter that haunts them allKOKOA dense complex book that showcases all of Straub s impressive skills as a wordsmith disassembling and recreating the world around the reader word by word sentence by sentence drawing you into a time and place that becomes your new reality populated by characters that earn your empathy and apathy simply by being purely imperfectly humanThe first book in the epic Blue Rose trilogy whether you choose to continue the journey or not this is a must read for anyone who Cyberselfish A Critical Romp Through The Terribly Libertarian Culture Of High Tech loves thought provoking immersive fiction thatingers in your memory for the rest of your A coerência textual lifeHighest possible recommendation As is the case when I finish other Peter Straub novels I closed Kokoast night speechless aware that I had been at Write Your Novel!: Tips from a Bestseller least on a tinyevel transformed As per usual with *Straub This Book Is An *this book is an Dogs Behaving Badly light beach reading it is not Straub deals in and with psychology tethering it toiterary elements ike human psychology his narratives and characters are puzzles that are not so easy to complete It is best for one to take his or her time when reading Straub and to not get overwhelmed his output is not immediately personable or friendly It reuires work Because this novel is in part About PTSD Long Stretches Feel PTSD ong stretches feel many times I was not sure if what I was reading was actually happening to the character or not It is in this cloudy mania Straub dwells and thrives Though not uite a horror novel this could be abeled a thriller if anything it does certainly contain horrific elements if in mood and style and not so much subject matter Like the best of this author s work this ong novel repelled and intrigued me it is enjoyable because of the challenges the narrative poses I am glad I finally marked this off my TBR. C to the graveyards and fleshpots of the Far East to the human jungle of New York hunting someone from the past who has risen from the darkness to kill and kill and kill. Yrinthine plot that always seems to be on the verge of splintering apart or capsizing ike a ifeboat in a maelstrom As ong as I m making out of Mindful Living with Aspergers Syndrome left field associations here s another one I re watched Vertigoast week and it struck me that the atmosphere and the images especially that shadow in the bell tower at the very end that moment of silence before the audience not to mention Kim Novak understands who or what it is are so powerful that they almost nullify the fact that there s a plausible explanation for everything that s taken place Koko has some of that same tension Yes everything that happens in the novel can be explained or ess rationally but the uncanny atmosphere that Straub conjures is somehow convincing Throughout the first couple of hundred pages you sense that something terrible is going to happen Or not exactly Rather something terrible has happened and is continuing to happen and so the dreamlike atmosphere of Koko is not arbitrary at all but a reflection of the fact that the novel is really about trauma the way it distorts time and space and becomes real in the mind than anything experienced before or after In his hotel in DC still early on in the novel Poole falls asleep or half asleep trying to read The Dead Zone by Stephen King which was published in 1979Before Michael could turn off his ight he was dripping with sweat carrying his copy of The Dead Zone through an army base many times arger than Camp Crandall All around the camp twenty or thirty kilometers beyond the barbed wire perimeter stood hills once thickly covered by trees now so perfectly bombed and burned and defoliated that only charred sticks protruded upwards from powdery brown earth He walked past a row of tents and at ast heard the silence of the camp he was aloneHe trudged past the deserted building into a stretch of empty Space Kid land and smelled burning shit The camp had been abandoned and he had beeneft behindthen he knew that this was no dream he really was in Vietnam the rest of his Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Southern Town life was the dreamWait a second he thought if this is reality it s noater than 1969 He opened The Dead Zone to the page of publishing information Deep in his chest his heart deflatedthe copyright date was 1965 He had never eft Vietnam Everything since had been only a nineteen year old s wishful dream Koko is a enghty tome My paperback copy spans 640 pages and promises great things a haunting nightmare of four Vietnam veterans reunited 15 years after the war thrust back into the horrors of the war when they Every Drop for Sale: Our Desperate Battle Over Water learn about a chain of murders comitted in Southeast Asia the murderer alwayseaves a playing card with the word Koko scribbled on it The word has eerie connotations for the four men they believe that a former member of their platoon is behind the murdersAfter Floating Dragon and The Talisman Peter Straub wanted to try his strenghts in a different field He worked four years on Koko and in many interviews names it as his strongest work He fooled those who were expecting a supernatural tale Down We Go: Living Into the Wild Ways of Jesus like his two previous novels there isittle if any of supernatural in Koko but there s plenty of ghosts The scariest thing is that they are all alive Koko is a ong complex novel where the travel is most important not the resolution it s most definitely not an easy thriller or a simple mystery It s a tale of a group of easy thriller or a simple mystery It s a tale of a group of who travelled to hell and returned with their own personal devils And when their past calls them back they decide to take action and pursue the killer through Signapore and Taipei to Milwaukee and New York City Peter Straub in one of the interviews said that Koko was his best writing experience where he entered a flow state in which he was with his characters and discovered that he wrote whole pages without thinking about writing them It shows Koko presents a world so complex and real that the reader feels ike he was Troubled Waters living in it It does tend to wander from time to time but doesn tife Koko is full of real emotions poignancy sadness and ambiguity Pumo Spitalny Beevers Linklater Underhill are all real people who will stay with you and Koko is the ghost that haunts them all These are some of the most realistic and memorable character I ve ever encountered in fiction The narrative is rich ong detailed satysfying and haunting and will stay with the reader for a ong time It stayed with mePeter Straub has achieved something extraordinary in Koko when he says that this is his strongest work a favorite he has his reasons A ong complex journey to the heart of darkness that is not really about who it s about why A rare gem worth multiple readings Tricksy ReviewWhere to start An uneasy read this There is real madness to be found here A brooding heady insanity Koko the novel is a disjointed psychological somewhat confusing affair Why then is it such a good read Well because that is also the best way to describe half the characters in this piece of work There is certainly method to the madness here And Koko himself He s certainly a disturbed man and it rubs off This book is not a uick read it s everything but and when I finished the ast page I felt a bit drained The horror element in this book is almost exclusively psychological and *It Wasn T Uite As Visceral An Experience As I *wasn t uite as visceral an experience as I imagined it would be considering the subject matter Approaching Koko correctly is fundamental in enjoying it I would think The book obviously contains some violence the two main contributing factors being 1 the actions of the serial killer Koko and 2 flashbacks to events that occurred during the Vietnam War The story however concerns itself with a mystery who is Koko really and why is he doing what he is doingThere is an underlying pervading menace in this novel and perhaps that s why it was so hard to put down In an interview with Peter Straub posted on Youtube he states that Koko was his best writing experience It shows Only an author writing with great confidence could have pulled this one off It s a really creepy work on many many different evels Four starsStraub is sometimes so difficult to categorise it boggles the mind but if something ike psychological horror thriller mystery cult novel rings your bell go for it Koko is the first in a trilogy of oosely connected novels followed by Mystery and The Throat Finally finished it Buddy Read with the awesome The Eclectic Club It was fun ride but it had some bumps along the Nonetheless inked by a shared history and a single shattering secret Now they have been reunited and are about to embark on a uest that will take them from Washington

review Koko author Peter Straub

It has been at east a decade since I Bon Bon Voyage (A Carolyn Blue Culinary Mystery, last tried to read this book which I had attempted before on two previous occasions And I knew how far I had gotten each time if not by some whiff of remembering then ateast by the markers I had placed where I had stopped each time It was the pure principal of the thing that fuelled my surpassing both those afore Bon Bon Voyage laid markers not the prose or the characters or the story If memory serves me correctly I bought this book based solely on my experience of reading The Talisman Having never read another Straub book I was none theess persuaded to give him independent of King a try It is a hard cover first edition that graces my shelves And I hate putting down a book before having turned the ast page Having done so twice before did not make it any palatable I can assure you So why thenHere we goThe prose felt fractured I had a difficult time following it and understanding the meaning behind the words It is not ike I need the author to hold my hand or explain every ittle thing in fact that usually puts me off No this was ike a giant jigsaw puzzle put together wrong even though the pieces still seemed to fit as though the edges were malleable I found myself going back and rereading passages and not for pleasure just trying to find a pathThe characters okay I am just going to say it They all felt alike to me Sure there were four different Vietnam vets that reunited in Washington but to me they all read ike different versions of the same man each individually cloaked or tricked out in some other fashion they all seemed ike revenants of a common hostThe story held great potential I thought I could see uite clearly how it might all play out Who knows maybe I did But in the end at A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency least my end if not Straub s I was not prepared to invest in another 400 plus pages to find outStraub is a prolific writer whom my comfort food King chose to co author two books with This is mostikely my failure and not the authors the atmosphere of degradation regret self oathing and impending doom was pervasive and absorbing the author shows a sure hand with characterization and a steady one with narrative the identity of the killer was unsurprising but well conceived and either as an extended metaphor for What We Did Wrong in Vietnam or as an ominous tract on the depths that some men can sink in their hunger for self destruction Koko certainly succeeds This has got to be one of the best thrillers I ve ever read That might sound ike a backhanded compliment especially if you happen to know that I don t read a Ravishing Ruby lot of thrillers but I don t mean it to be I m even tempted to call it the Moby Dick of thrillers it song after all tempestuous a ittle dreamlike it sometimes meanders and it s about four men in the same boat even if not a iteral one chasing a dangerous and elusive figure from the past who may be a symbol of something or just a man Koko begins in Washington DC in ate 1982 where four Vietnam vets from the same regiment it seems ike a stretch to call them friends have met up to see the Memorial for the first time It was within
first ten pages or so I started to get the sense that this novel might be much better than I d expected and when I started to make mental comparisons The Deer Hunter another Vietnam story that takes the time to meander and allow us to experience the characters Old Yeller lives with them The main character Mike Poole walks around near the Monument before the others have arrived just thinkingHere was what waseft of the warFor Poole the actual country of Vietnam was now just another placemany thousands of miles distant with an embattled history and an idiosyncratic and inaccessible culture Its history and culture had briefly disastrously intersected ours But the actual country of Vietnam was not VietnamStraub empathetically captures Poole s alienation his feeling even than ten years ater that he s returned to a country that s never really understood what he s experienced and in fact doesn t want to understand and that this has forever altered his sense of belonging to that country At any time he can mentally slip into a different country not Vietnam but Vietnam a place that only his fellow veterans have been Somehow neither post war mythologizing nor congratulations from the Coca Cola company in his hotel obby seem to offer much in the way of comfort or edification Was this what he d spent so much time wanting to get back toDuring his first surreal eighteen months back from Vietnam Poole had been able to tell if a man had been in Vietnam just by the way he held his body His instincthad faded since then but he knew he could not be mistaken about this group Hello sir said a clarion voice at his elbowPoole Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography looked down at a beaming young woman with a fanatical faceshe held a tray of glasses filled with blackiuid Might I inuire sir if you are a veteran of the Vietnam conflict I was in Vietnam Poole said The Coca Cola company joins the rest of America in thanking you personally for your efforts during the Vietnam conflict We wish to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to you and to introduce you to our newest product Diet Coke in the hope that you will enjoy it and share your pleasure with your friends and fellow veterans Poole On Being Human: Reflections on Life and Living looked upward and saw that aong brilliantly red bannerhad been suspended far above the Frommers Irreverent Guide to Walt Disney World lobby Whiteettering said The Coca Cola Corporation and Diet Coke Salute the Veterans of Vietnam He ooked back down at the girl I guess I l pass The aspect of the story that might sound reminiscent of a 90s cable miniseries is that the four of them have also come together to discuss a string of killings in southeast Asia the killer has been eaving their regiment s distinctive playing cards as his signature and it would follow that he is someone they know or knew No than that ike it or not they share an intimacy with him I have a feeling that the ingenious *Serial Killer With The Occult Signature Is *killer with the occult signature is in fiction than in reality but soon enough I was nodding along won over by the uniuely foreboding and uncanny atmosphere the sharp and economical dialogue the story s understanding that violence inevitably echoes over the course of years as well as the feeling that Straub had genuinely managed to channel these characters from his unconscious getting their voices on paper and then carefully arranging them in a Who's There on Halloween? lab. KOKO Only four men knew what it meant Now they must stop it They are Vietnam vets a doctor aawyer a working stiff and a writer Very different from each other they are. Koko author Peter Straub