14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2011
I like to refer to the 26-35 age group as Generation X-files. They see a conspiracy around every corner. Having read and enjoyed Jason Hornsby's two recent books, I would say he is definitely a member of that generation. Although I'm not a believer in many conspiracy theories, I'm not naive as to think they don't exist (think JFK). I just don't see a large-scale conspiracy working because of all the loose lips and loose ends. Hornsby's recent effort, "Eleven Twenty-Three," depicts such a massive conspiracy, involving various foreign governments in cahoots with our own to annihilate individual small towns. Why? I'm not 100 percent clear, but that didn't restrict my enjoyment of the book. Although the premise is somewhat murky, the plot is at least somewhat believable, because by God I found myself creeped out more than once. What I most appreciated about the book is the slow-burn to the meat and potatoes. Hornsby sets up the characters and plot gradually while maintaining my interest. Slow-burn but not slow ride. Once the table is set the pace quickens and the tension becomes non-stop. The characters, although not three-dimensional, are drawn well enough that you don't mind their lack of depth. Several reviewers have complained of Hornsby's characters being unlikeable. So what? In my opinion the characters are flawed certainly, but that doesn't make them unlikeable. And what literary rule stipulates characters must be likeable for the story to succeed? In this genre of literature it makes them more palatable to kill off. "Eleven Twenty-Three" marks an advance in Hornsby's writing. Although I enjoyed his previous work, "Every Sigh, The End," "Eleven Twenty-Three" is much tighter, the writing much crisper, and the characters more memorable.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2010
What happened? That's what I said with about 40 pages left and I continued to say that (sometimes out loud) until the last word. The book takes over 100 pages to get going, but the writing is good and the characters are entertaining, so I made it. Then, out of nowhere the action takes off and it becomes one of the better books I've read this year. The writing is terrific, the characters believable and likable, and the plot awesome. Then, AGAIN out of nowhere it just falls apart. After reading the whole thing, I see why the beginning took so long. It was an afterthought just like the ending. The book ends with confusing (and boring) dream sequences and an utterly unbelievable conspiracy. I normally rate books after a few days so I've had time to digest them as a whole, but I jumped right on this one because it turned into a rip off. I'd suggest Mr. Hornsby get help with a credible story-line next time he wants to work an international conspiracy into a violent zombie-esque book. I gave it a three only because the action is written so well.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2012
The plot is excellent, the writing decent and the characters quite likeable. The dream or ghostlike sequences which frequently pop up in between the suspenseful "real" passages are bothersome and distract from the quality of the novel. I could not understand what the author attempted to portay with those sequences.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2011
I picked up Jason S. Hornsby's ELEVEN TWENTY-THREE at ZomBCon in October. Which is a bit odd, because this isn't really a zombie book. It's more of a rage-infected book, but it's not really that, either.
This is a very smart book, which I know sounds a bit uppity, but the simple fact is that not everyone's going to be up for it. If you're looking for zombies and gore, this is not the book for you (although there is a fair amount of gore). If you need everything spelled out for you, it's not the book for you. If you want bulky action heroes who solve problems with roundhouse kicks and a burst of 9mm rounds, you're not going to find it here.
What you will find is a delicate web of global politics and conspiracies that happens to center around a young man and his girlfriend who've gone home for a funeral. There's nothing special about either of them, and they've both got more flaws than appealing traits. ELEVEN TWENTY-THREE will make you think and figure things out while watching the characters fight for their lives every twelve hours.
It's not flawless. I'd give it 4.5 stars, but it's such a damned ambitious book and comes so close I'd rather round up than down.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2014
An American teaching English in China returns home with his girl friend to attend his fathers funeral. His career in on the downward slide to failure and disappointment, his girlfriend is pushing for marrage his mother is a sad alcoholic still grieving over being abandoned by her now deceased husband for a younger woman. A small town like any other, where it's sleepy days seem set in the comfort of the unchanging habits of small town life. Then at the funeral for his father, the family and friends gathered in well mannered show of grief for a man no one really liked, at 11;23, people he knew as preditacble as sunshine in summer, go mad a begin killing each other. Everyday twice a day at 11;23 am at 11'23 pm the madness strikes and the bodies pile up. The town cut off without phones or internet are surrounded by soldiers who speak foreign languages. The only clue to the madness is a mysterious briefcase hidden in his baggage by a man who chatted with him in the airport before he had left China. The death toll mounts as friends and neighbors twice a day go mad, There is no escape and no conspiracy theory too far out to be believed.
The author has a deft touch with descriptive language that he uses like a paint brush to paint the world in dark foreboding tones. His characters are true to life and fully formed with emotional dpeth you rearly see in a 'horror' genre book. Not all likeable not all heroic, trying to understand and survive a world gone mad. The ending is a bit confusing, you can never be sure if he has survived the horrors with his mind wholly intact or is wondering lost in a fever dream. A book well worth adding to your bookshelf, just read it with your door locked.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Layne Prescott is an expatriate returning home to Lilly's End, Florida from his teaching post in China for the funeral of his father. As he and his girlfriend Tara sit waiting in the airport for their plane that will take them across the Pacific, they meet up with a Mr. Scott, who has a briefcase attached to his wrist by a handcuff in an airport bar. After they land in Florida and meet up with old friends, Layne discovers the same briefcase stuffed inside his luggage. From there, things get dangerously strange, as the world falls apart at 11:23, every twelve hours all over Lilly's End. People go mad, tearing each other apart, and then killing themselves when there is no one else left to assault. The town is shut off by the government and lies about a smallpox outbreak keep the outside world at bay. All the while, everyone still alive inside of Lilly's End is rapidly going mad, taking things into their own hands, while Layne and a few of his friends attempt to understand what is behind all of this and try to figure out what they can do to escape it.
That is the glossy overview of this story. Underneath that, this 300 page novel is thick with conspiracy, generation why angst, and a constant flow of confusion, deception, and things for the reader to ponder. I have read Jason Hornsby's previous novel, Every Sigh, The End, and for a long stretch of that book I despised the main character for his self absorbed approach to life, which takes a radical turn as truths about the world are revealed around him. In many ways, I can say that there are parallels between that book and this one, although Hornsby's writing has definitely matured with this book. It is clear that this is a Hornsby book-I could have picked it out blindfolded after reading several chapters. As another reviewer has put it, no one creates young, disaffected characters quite like this author. They are disagreeable, argumentative, self-absorbed, and irresistibly fascinating. It is hard to describe effectively, but while it is hard to feel much pity for the characters throughout a great swath of this book, in the end their misery is tangible, palpable, real, and you feel it along with them. Layne is one of those characters who would constantly confound you, but if you peeled away most of his facade, he would seem to be one of the most vulnerable people you might ever know. At least that was the sense I got.
I think after reading my first Hornsby book, I got the sense that the author and I would have very little in common, very little that would connect us. My presumption was that he was much like the characters he wrote. I had the chance to meet the author at a Horror Convention recently and I realized then that this was far from the truth. Hornsby just has a knack for writing characters that make you feel like you are biting down on tinfoil. He has a talent for that.
I will readily admit that I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, and as such, I probably don't rate as someone who is a judge of the conspiracies that Hornsby presents in this novel, but I will say this-I felt pretty damn squeamish as more and more was revealed in this story, as my imagination was sparked and I tried to comprehend how deep and dark the rabbit hole the author had created was. Mr. Hornsby has created a novel that provides the disaffected youth he writes about with a nightmarish world that is even worse than they could ever imagine, which is quite a trick to pull off. This story was creative, wild, and forces you to pay attention to it at every step. But even if you do, there is more than meets the eye, and will give you something to think about long after you put the book down.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
This is a 2 star book burying the potential for a 4 star book. An innovative plot is used as a background to support multiple interspersed backstories about the main character and his relationships.
A good editor could take all the backstories down to a minimum and help the author focus on the main plot. I thought the main plot was pretty interesting and could have been more thoroughly developed. The writing is decent and the book structure is developed well. Even though I read the whole thing, the Gen-X/teenage angst filler really got in the way of enjoying a nice thriller.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2014
I love the idea of this book and wish it was longer. It was a great read and very hard to put down! I gave 4 stars because I felt the ending could have been way better! Would definitely read a sequel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2013
Would have been a five without the constant references to which narrative tricks we're using today (kids), and "Look at me, I'm a cool slacker" crap.
That said, the idea was fun, the book paid homage to a boatload of fun conspiracy theories, and went in directions I didn't expect. No punches are pulled when describing the titular time's violent episodes. Definately recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
Very much enjoyed this author's writing and use of words.
I was ready to erase from my kindle after the first 11.23, the funeral scene, seemed that part was overlooked and could have been reworked to be more believable, but I kept going and found the whole thing to be rather interesting.
the characters were the most believable part and what I enjoyed most.