Foreword by David Niall Wilson plus a new author's foreword by Craig Spector and Afterword by John Skipp
DEAD LINES is about a young writer/artist type, Jack Rowan, in NYC, whose career never took off. His life is in the toilet. He's broken up with his girlfriend and crashing on the couch of his more successful photographer friend, Glen's, loft while Glen is off in LA on a shoot. In the first chapter, Jack finishes his manuscript -- a collection of short stories titled NIghtmare NYC -- swigs off a bottle of vodka, then boxes the manuscript up, writes DO NOT OPEN UNTIL DOOMSDAY on it, and hides it in a crawlspace in his friend's apartment. Then he walks up a ladder he set up in the living room, puts the rope he knotted to a steam pipe around his neck/ He takes one last swig off the bottle, looks at a photo in his hand of himself and a woman, says, look what you made me do.
The apartment is abandoned until two girls, Meryl, from a wealthy family in Boston and trying to escape her overbearing father by going to college at NYU and Katie, a waitress, become unlikely roommates. Then they start to become friends.
One night while Meryl is fixing up her room, she finds the box containing Jack's lost manuscript. She starts to read the stories and becomes intrigued with this 'mystery' writer and his dark, brooding, moody vision of the city. As she reads and slowly falls in love with her mystery writer, strange things begin happening in the apartment, and in the girls' dreams. Something is awaken in the loft – and it's hungry, and Doomsday may not be so far away...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What can be said about plot that the editorial review hasn't covered for this book? Plenty. But I'm going to leave that for the reader to discover, as I did, many years ago. Instead, I'd like to discuss how fitting it is that this novel has returned for a whole new generation to discover. You see, good writing never really dies. Sure, a book may fall off the charts as sales may taper off. Maybe a library decides to withdraw the book from circulation because it hasn't been checked out as much as others. But for those of us who have read a good book, none of that matters. The book lives on in our memory. It becomes a part of us, just as the writer in Dead Lines becomes part of the fabric of the apartment he kills himself in. We may not even be aware that it resides in us, perhaps asserting itself in small doses, or coming on as a flood. We keep the book alive. Once the idea is out of the writer's head and onto the shelves, we are the pulse. Again, it's fitting that a reader's obsession with hidden stories provides the life blood to bring the writer back from the beyond in Dead Lines. It's a natural. The reader provides the life. Without the reader, a story is nothing but dead lines - literally. And what a fantastic concept for the perfect wraparound story for what was an incredibly original idea: a "Novelogy". What better way to package a number of unconnected short stories than to devise a way to connect them? The idea seems simple, in retrospect, but it had never been done before. Not like this. The concept is executed brilliantly. Here, Skipp and Spector present stories that, on their own, would have been heavy hitters. Presented within the format of Dead Lines, each one becomes a home run. This book was one of my very first exposures to the wordcraft of Skipp & Spector. I've carried the impact of that first read-through for decades. It's been lurking somewhere within me, and all the others who've read it...and it's been waiting. Waiting for the time to rise up again and scare the bejabbers out of a whole new audience. The time has come. Good writing never dies. Buy Dead Lines now and BE THE PULSE!
Pretty good. I like the short stories within the big story. It was like a twofer. Lol