Koko (Trade Paperback) - Peter Straub Koko is the first book in the "Blue Rose Trilogy." I wouldn't, despite the author's reputation and its winning the World Fantasy Award, call this a horror novel, more mystery/thriller--there's not much more of a hint of the supernatural to the novel. This features a smooth, skillful style and well-drawn characterizations. For quite a while I couldn't warm to those characters though, and the plot was slow to develop, but the writing engaged me enough I stuck with it, and some of the characters grew on me, as they themselves grew in the course of the story, so that about half way through I cared enough about them I knew I'd stick with the book, which had more than one unexpected twist and turn. (One major character I hated from beginning to end, but I finally realized we're pretty much supposed to.) The plot is centered on four American Vietnam War Veterans who go in search of someone in their unit they suspect might be committing a series of murders connected to events in the war over a decade ago: Michael Poole, a pediatrician; Beevers, a lawyer, who was the lieutenant of their unit; Conor, a carpenter and Pumo, a restaurant owner. The search takes them to Singapore, Thailand, Milwaukee, and the author skillfully portrays each, as well as their past in combat in Vietnam. I'd definitely try more Straub--maybe Ghost Story sometime.