“Stinger” by Robert R McCammon

About the book
A dying town under the scorching heat of an unforgiving Texas sun is divided by racial conflict and financial decline. Shops and schools are closing, homes are left empty and unsold. The only business still booming is the local kingpin selling drugs and stolen cars. In this desolate township an alien space craft crashes down, soon followed by another. The ensuing cat-and-mouse game engages the whole community, and changes all of their lives forever.

It’s a classic science fiction novel with some darker elements. First published in 1988, it was nominated for the 1988 Bram Stoker Award, and was a New York Times bestseller.

My thoughts
I loved this book. It is fast-paced, engaging and the characters are fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the fact that we got some insight into the alien worlds in the vast universe outside. If you like science fiction and alien invasion type novels, this is a must-read.

More than anything it’s a great read because of the wide set of characters he draws in the novel. They are diverse in personality as well as voice, with the exception maybe of Cody and Rick. Their voices (and characters) were very similar for me, but I think it was intentional. Read it and you will see what I mean. I think every single character in this novel evolves with the challenges they face, and the horrors they go through. It’s certainly an impressive study in character development, if you can manage to lift yourself out of the story long enough to take note.

The one thing that bothered me when I started reading this book, was the excessive head hopping that he does. Back and forth, back and forth. It really threw me off at first. Fortunately the story is strong enough that you’re pulled along anyway. But my initial reaction was one of “Wait, what now? Who’s talking?” and because of that I felt the pace stumbled a bit in the first few chapters.

All in all, Stinger is a terrific read. I give it an easy StarsFour.

About the author
Robert Rick McCammon was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1952. Between 1978 and 1993 he published a dozen novels and one collection of short stories. In 1993 he retired from writing, citing depression, exhaustion from overwork, a desire to spend more time with his family, and frustration with publishers, who insisted he limit himself to writing genre horror fiction when he wanted to explore other literary forms.
Source: http://www.robertmccammon.com/articles/mccammon-bio.html

According to Wikipedia, as of 2007 he is writing again, and his latest novel, The Border, was published May 2015.

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