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Ordinary Horror

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Frank Delabano is a retired science teacher living an unremarkable life in an unremarkable suburb. But in a sunny corner of his backyard lies his secret treasure: a magnificent rose garden. When his beloved blooms are threatened by a mysterious burrowing pest, he sends away for an organic remedy: an exotic tropical plant guaranteed to be "antithetical to garden varmints bu Frank Delabano is a retired science teacher living an unremarkable life in an unremarkable suburb. But in a sunny corner of his backyard lies his secret treasure: a magnificent rose garden. When his beloved blooms are threatened by a mysterious burrowing pest, he sends away for an organic remedy: an exotic tropical plant guaranteed to be "antithetical to garden varmints but harmless to pets and everything else." The strange "gopherbane" plants take care of the problem . . . and much more. Building to an unforgettable climax, Ordinary Horror tells an unsettling, richly atmospheric tale of creepily evolving menace.


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Frank Delabano is a retired science teacher living an unremarkable life in an unremarkable suburb. But in a sunny corner of his backyard lies his secret treasure: a magnificent rose garden. When his beloved blooms are threatened by a mysterious burrowing pest, he sends away for an organic remedy: an exotic tropical plant guaranteed to be "antithetical to garden varmints bu Frank Delabano is a retired science teacher living an unremarkable life in an unremarkable suburb. But in a sunny corner of his backyard lies his secret treasure: a magnificent rose garden. When his beloved blooms are threatened by a mysterious burrowing pest, he sends away for an organic remedy: an exotic tropical plant guaranteed to be "antithetical to garden varmints but harmless to pets and everything else." The strange "gopherbane" plants take care of the problem . . . and much more. Building to an unforgettable climax, Ordinary Horror tells an unsettling, richly atmospheric tale of creepily evolving menace.

30 review for Ordinary Horror

  1. 4 out of 5

    karen

    "unforgettable climax???" i have forgotten it and i have read it twice. i never did "get" this book. i did not find it scary, even in the "cerebral horror" sense, and i want to know why, please.if someone could explain it to me, i will be waiting by my computer.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Sydlik

    Although I appreciate the attempt at what I suppose the author intends to be a "literary horror" novel, the few interesting passages did not make up for the lack of engagement for this reader. Lacking in character and plot, the uneven style feels more like a fiction workshop experiment than something an author would want to publish. Told from a third-person limited point of view, I did not care anything for the main protagonist. Nor did I understand much of the action and meaning behind the more Although I appreciate the attempt at what I suppose the author intends to be a "literary horror" novel, the few interesting passages did not make up for the lack of engagement for this reader. Lacking in character and plot, the uneven style feels more like a fiction workshop experiment than something an author would want to publish. Told from a third-person limited point of view, I did not care anything for the main protagonist. Nor did I understand much of the action and meaning behind the more surrealist passages. Just not for me, I guess.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    This story had a nice leisurely pace. Not in a bad way, but in a way that let's you know something is building. I was expectant, and certainly getting into it (it's something of a very subtle Little Shop of Horrors). But then came the end. Couldn't make heads or tails of it. This was the epitome of the ambiguous ending (which I don't necessarily mind). But if you're someone who needs the ends wrapped up tightly, this one might frustrate you. Overall, the trip was worth it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wintler-cox

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I LOVE this book. I've read it numerous times and have come to believe it's a masterpiece of Weird Fiction. Hackles were raised and frissons were felt. If you like Weird Fiction (which is fiction that asks WTF just happened?!?) it's worth the effort to puzzle it out. Death is an ordinary horror, and the apocalypse will be just one more death (one reason I was attracted to the book was because I've taken to calling death the banal tragedy). Part of the difficulty is in trusting the author to actua I LOVE this book. I've read it numerous times and have come to believe it's a masterpiece of Weird Fiction. Hackles were raised and frissons were felt. If you like Weird Fiction (which is fiction that asks WTF just happened?!?) it's worth the effort to puzzle it out. Death is an ordinary horror, and the apocalypse will be just one more death (one reason I was attracted to the book was because I've taken to calling death the banal tragedy). Part of the difficulty is in trusting the author to actually tell you what is going on, and that the puzzling is worth the effort (I'm looking at you, Lost). The key is--in my opinion--that everything he describes is actually happening. The objective information comes through his neighbor, Mike. Yes, the text is a tad florid; but you get used to it. Also, it's all conveyed from Frank's viewpoint. Frank's inner monologue tends toward circular and repetitive curlycues of approach and avoidance. Information trickles in based on what he sees and hears and what he is driven by instinct to do. Thoughts and theories sort of "intrude" but aren't examined in the way that we've come to expect. For instance: He's lost his wife (his only human contact apparently) and is still traumatized by it (especially the suddenness of it). So, one way we know he's feeling anxious or that he's thinking about death is when he thinks about hospitals or words spoken in a room with hospital like lighting. When the precocious neighbor girl most exposed to the plants (and with whom he's developed a tentative bond) has a seizure; he doesn't think "She's choking!" He describes what it looks like and thinks that suddenly, knowing where the gum she was chewing is very important. He doesn't say to himself "I feel uneasy, like something is hunting me." He remembers being at the ocean with his wife. Wading into the surf and suddenly becoming aware of tons of fish swimming past his legs. It delighted him at first; but then he wondered, what's chasing them? and suddenly became very afraid. Like I say, if you want the "objective" explanation, listen to what his neighbor says--he does things like chemically analyze the plants. Oh, and consider why an ambitious, frustrated, under appreciated at work person may decide to have a cookout in winter--in his backyard--right next to the neighbor's rose bed.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathi Early

    This book was given partly as a joke as we were having terrible problems with gopher,but it was not scary and way too wordy and descriptive for me. A chapter did not even make sense. My curiosity was piqued so kept plodding along hoping for the answer to the question of what was the ordinary horror? Skimmed the last 1/4 of the book and never did fiqure it out! definitely not my cup of tea!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I did not get this book and I can't tell if that's because it went over my head or if because it just wasn't a good book. I'm leaning towards the latter, but that might be my pride talking. However, the writing was unnecessarily convoluted, as though the author was trying to be profound but ultimately this reader found the prose more confusing than revealing. Permit me an example of what happens after the MC sniff's his finger: Immediately he holds his finger away but keeps the other hand to his I did not get this book and I can't tell if that's because it went over my head or if because it just wasn't a good book. I'm leaning towards the latter, but that might be my pride talking. However, the writing was unnecessarily convoluted, as though the author was trying to be profound but ultimately this reader found the prose more confusing than revealing. Permit me an example of what happens after the MC sniff's his finger: Immediately he holds his finger away but keeps the other hand to his face, grasping a thought, trying to hold it and not daring to move until it's retrieved and played out: a picture of a dust storm. One of those huge ones he' seen in books or magazines rolling across parched landscapes like something solid, a mud flow or even an animal, vast and inescapable like some Japanese movie monster about the houses an farm equipment, so big it's possible to imagine people in its path on the ground - people not situate in an airplane or removed to some elevation with a camera - unable to recognize it, not being able to tell what's happening, its extent too great for it to be distinguishable, exactly, from surrounding features it has replaced or engulfed. How difficult to resolve this. The thought of it. Not quite to see it because it's too big It goes on from here, the description of the guy smelling his finger. But you can see what the reader has to deal with. Now, it is VERY possible that this is profound in a way I don't understand. But boy, it seems like it would have taken a lot of work to understand it and the whole book was pretty much like this. Don't ask me to try and explain the end.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Carsenat

    Intrigued by the blurbs for this book (slow-burning lit horror), I was kind of surprised at the vehemence of the bad reviews elsewhere. It is dense and rather microscopic in its detail, but the tone and style really sucks you in - if you want to go there. Genuinely disturbing. All atmosphere, all the time, which is alright by me!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hutch

    So far, I'm liking it. It starts off creepy. I'm afraid it's losing steam or something, though. I think it's enjoying the idea that horror is most horrific when it's in your peripheral vision rather than in your face far too much, but who knows. 90% of this book is build-up and I have a hard time believing that the 10% of "the big reveal" will be at all satisfying.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kymberlie McGuire

    This book made me feel such tension, waiting to find out what was going to happen. Honestly, I don't know if I even understood the end, but aside from that, I loved reading this and have already bought another one of his books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Nichols

    Horrifyingly Ordinary.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andy Plonka

    If there is such a thing as literary horror, this book is it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Keepcoolbutcare

    i liked it. i think most people did not.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kayleigh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm sort of loathe to give a negative review for something I finished and, to the book's credit, reasonably enjoyed, but Searcy's writing leaves something wanting. The vignettes into a senile mind are like great bay windows overlooking a vista of fog, paranoid images twisting in the mist. While the writing has deafening crescendos of madness, where the reader isn't quite sure if the horror is real or imagined, it's a little too easy to lose any semblance of story in Frank Delabano's sort of hyst I'm sort of loathe to give a negative review for something I finished and, to the book's credit, reasonably enjoyed, but Searcy's writing leaves something wanting. The vignettes into a senile mind are like great bay windows overlooking a vista of fog, paranoid images twisting in the mist. While the writing has deafening crescendos of madness, where the reader isn't quite sure if the horror is real or imagined, it's a little too easy to lose any semblance of story in Frank Delabano's sort of hysterical and aging ideations. Toward the end, the reader isn't sure what's happened, but not in the satisfying way some thrillers achieve.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dominic Howarth

    Atmospheric and well written, this literary American Gothic novel starts off strong with a constant sense of dread. The writing is full of tension, but as the story moves along, you soon realize that the plot is somewhat meandering and the payoff leaves a ridiculous amount to be desired. Much respect to the author though for making seemingly inconsequential suburban life so quietly terrifying.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wes Young

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The best kind of horror work is one that affects you psychologically. Ordinary horror does a great job of setting the groundwork (no pun intended) and building and building and building to a staggeringly creepy climax... but that is all it does. Its why this story is "ordinary", why it fails to collect the coveted 5th star. I do get chills just thinking about some of the stuff going on in this novel (especially the child dictating the events over the model neighborhood, ooohhh). Searcy gets a pa The best kind of horror work is one that affects you psychologically. Ordinary horror does a great job of setting the groundwork (no pun intended) and building and building and building to a staggeringly creepy climax... but that is all it does. Its why this story is "ordinary", why it fails to collect the coveted 5th star. I do get chills just thinking about some of the stuff going on in this novel (especially the child dictating the events over the model neighborhood, ooohhh). Searcy gets a past because it was his first book and he's from Dallas.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Dear lord, where to begin. The first chapter starts out okay, and the bit about the little girl was just beginning to become interesting. Then it just devolves into ridiculous ramblings. I mostly skimmed the book from about page 50 on searching for any sign of a plot. The synopsis indicates there's an "unforgettable climax", but I have absolutely no idea what happens. Just as another reviewer asked, can someone who liked it tell me what the heck this "climax" was?!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Oakley Merideth

    I suppose the title did deliver on its promise as reading this was an experience of the most ordinary literary horror, so ordinary in fact I forgot to scream...or recoil...or care. Yes, it starts out with promise but eventually Searcy's prose with its over-the-top mediation and ontological obscurity simply doesn't provoke the reader at all. Just because one experiments doesn't mean one invents plastic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    The most boring, tedious book I've ever slogged through. Ever. Who the fuck do you think you are David Searcy, carrying on single paragraphs for 2+ pages!? You're not fucking Melville dude, and this ain't earth-shattering stuff. Get a clue.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Leilani

    The only reason I finished this book is because I have a weird obsessive thing that if I start a library book, no matter what, I have to finish it before I can return it. I was very patient in waiting for something to actually happen. My patience was not rewarded.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brian Kaufman

    Interminable, NOTHING HAPPENS, sentences for days that accomplish and convey nothing. I'll never get that time back...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    Oh lord. I could honestly tell that the author has talent, he can create atmosphere and flesh out pretty good characters. It just goes absolutely nowhere.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chrystal Hays

    I went into this with no expectations and was very pleased. It's not obvious, over-the-top, in-your-face horror. Very psychological, very slow and creepy. I look forward to him writing more.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book had a lot of potential, and it started out great, but it never really built to anything, and the suspense just fizzled out.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Evocative of Hobbes - nasty, brutish and short, if by short one means interminable

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Ordinary, maybe. Horror? Not! I regret the time I wasted reading this pointless book. The best thing I can say about it is Meh!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe

  28. 4 out of 5

    Russ

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bill Wallace

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