I haven't read a book for the sheer pleasure of it in a while, and boy did bump into a fantastic one. The Ruins by Scott Smith is a fantastic work of genre fiction. Plot is roughly the kind of thing movie execs churn out regularly, 4 young adults vacationing stumble across some sort of horror. This however is far from the conventional story. First, the author is excelent at drawing out characters that are not simple characatures, he flushes them out. I sincerely could have read a book about these characters just hanging out on vacation. Secondly, he explains nothing to you, just forces you to accept the situation as it presents itself, much as the characters in the story do. I read the last 200 pages of this 320 page book in a frantic hurry, and was pleased up till the end, when I got that separation anxiety I sometimes get after reading a good book.
This book will be a movie, and they will ruin it, unless someone like Sam Rami (who directed Scott Smith's one other book A Simple Plan) gets ahold of it. It's characters are to complex, it's picture too bleak, and it's emotions and actions too real.