Exodus of Magic: A Review

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Recently this pedometer geek reader had the pleasure of becoming an Elite reader for author Simone Pond’s novel River of Magic, the second novel in The Mysterium Chronicles. What that meant is prior to its publication, the author gave her Elite readers the opportunity to read her newest novel, an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC); however, this reader hadn’t read the first novel in the series. The author was kind enough to offer a copy of this one as well, and this is the extended review of Exodus of Magic.

Exodus of Magic

by Simone Pond

Published by Ktown Waters Publishing, 2017

ISBN: 978-1542980968

Having read other novels by indie author Simone Pond. this reader knew, or certainly suspected, that reading this novel would be a treat, and it was. She has deftly moved from YA dystopian fiction to the genre of urban fantasy.

From the back cover:

 An ancient prophecy. A chosen leader. A warlock who will stop at nothing.

As the novel opens, readers are introduced to the female protagonist, Jordan Bachar, a recent graduate of the Academy, the school that trains operatives to protect the citizens of the right-bank in Mysterium, one of the lands of the Confederated Six (by the way, there is a map of the world of the Confederated Six included at the beginning of the novel). She and her fellow graduates are attending a charity ball, held by her adopted mother, Charity Bachar, to celebrate the newest graduates. Charity’s father just happens to be the Prime Master of Mysterium, but Jordan has never felt she has measured up to his expectations so that she is out to prove that she is worthy of being one of these elite operatives.

During this festive event, Jordan finds herself protecting the attendees from a mage-terrorist by using her hidden, illegal magic (magic is illegal in the city of Mysterium). Unfortunately, the Prime Master’s chief counselor, Pierce Magnus, recognizes this and subsequently blackmails her into secretly working for him. This sets off a cascade of events leading to her discovery of an ancient prophecy.

This prophecy involves her…in fact, she discovers she is the Chosen One. She is the one who will save the Ancient Ones of the left-bank of Mysterium, that is, if she survives. Paranormal creatures including a powerful warlock are out to stop her, but she will be joined in her quest by other magical persons in this first novel of the series.

The novel is engaging right from the start so that it is difficult to stop reading (to be honest, this pedometer geek reader devoured it). The characters, both the good and the bad, are realistic (for the genre). Pond doesn’t give away anything so that the reader is constantly guessing who is a good guy and who isn’t. Overall, it is a fun read, and it definitely sets the reader up for River of Magic, the sequel. The tale is complete as is, but there are enough unanswered questions that the reader desires to know: how will Jordan save the Ancient Ones from their exile? How will she save the world of Mysterium?

This reader is looking forward to reading the upcoming second book; as an Elite reader, that will be as soon as this review is posted. Expect a review soon as the book will available to the public as of today, March 28, 2017 (in other words, don’t wait for my review, read both of them now!) For those who love paranormal creatures (vampires, witches, mages, and more) and urban fantasy, this will be right up your alley.

One nit-picky thing that this reader found throughout the story: the term Chosen One was over-utilized by the protagonist. Most heroes/heroines in stories tend to disbelieve in their role in the universe and downplay it, acting only “because they had to,” (that it was the right thing to do). Perhaps, Jordan’s use was meant to be self-deprecating and funny, but it became a bit tedious; however, having said that, when she was called CO by some of her compatriots, that was rather clever, and it certainly is not a reason to forgo reading this series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going for Kona: A Review

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The latest novel this pedometer geek read was a complimentary copy of one of Pamela Fagan Hutchins’ novels, which the author offered as a consolation prize to a giveaway she was running. Thanks again for this book. Frankly, can’t recall the other book title at the moment, but here is the extended review of the novel, Going for Kona (which was gifted by the author).

Going for Kona

by Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Published by SkipJack Publishing, 2014

ISBN: 978-1939889188

Going for Kona is a cross-genre story. Billed as a romantic suspense story, it is part mystery, part suspense, and, at its heart, a love story. Briefly, without giving away too many spoilers, co-authors Michele and Adrian Hanson are training for the Kona Ironman triathlon to be held in Hawaii. The day after the book launch at Barnes & Noble of their book, My Pace or Yours? Triathlon Training for Couples, Adrian is killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bicycle. His death devastates Michele and their children, Belle and Sam. Frankly, if were up to her, she’d crawl in bed, pull the covers over her head, and never come out. Unfortunately, his death also drives sales on the book and a media blitz occurs, which is a distraction for Michele and the family.

Michele’s grief for Adrian also drives her to intensify her training in order to participate in the Kona race in honor of her husband, yet at what cost? Her children, Sam and Belle, are paying the price for her lack of time and attention, and custody of the two is in jeopardy. Added to that, she feels that the police are not looking for his killer. Or at least, not hard enough to suit her so that, in essence, she becomes an amateur sleuth. Doing her own detective work may be as dangerous as training; moreover, she may discover things she’d rather not know, but nonetheless she persists.

Will Michele survive the race? Will she repair the rift with her kids? Will she discover her husband’s murderer? All these questions (and more) will be answered be answered  as she goes for broke.

This is the first of Hutchins’ novels that this pedometer geek has read. It is part of a series called What Doesn’t Kill You, but this one clearly can be read as a stand-alone. Her characters are fresh and realistic. For example, teens Sam and Annabelle (Belle) act like typical teens. That is, they are moody and loving and rebellious and caring, all in the space of fifteen minutes. The scenarios are believable, as in the example of Michele’s driving herself in her training to block our her pain of the loss of her spouse. There is just enough romance, mystery, suspense, and humor throughout the story that keeps the reader engaged and emotionally connected to the characters.

There were the usual What-the-trends seen. Several of the characters (Adrian, Belle) had green eyes, and of course, there was at least one incident of hair tucking, but overall, it was a fun read, which means this reader intends to read other novels by this author. Actually, at least two of them (Saving Grace and Heaven to Betsy)  are already downloaded on my Kindle, but I digress. What more needs to be said?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanishing Games: A Review

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The pedometer geek reader’s local library, the Huron Public Library, had an event with a publisher’s representative (Penguin, I believe it was) almost two years ago. The rep discussed various upcoming titles that she was excited to represent (some of which this reader has read, but I digress). She also gave participants the opportunity to have some copies of other upcoming titles. This reader chose an uncorrected bound proof of Vanishing Games, which was written by Roger Hobbs. Thus, despite the tardiness related to the time since receiving the novel, this pedometer geek reader now presents the extended review.

Vanishing Games

by Roger Hobbs

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2015

a division of Random House, LLC

ISBN:978-0-385-35264-2

Vanishing Games is the thrilling sequel to Hobbs’ debut novel, Ghostman. Having not read that one, it was with some trepidation that this reader began to read his second novel. What if it was the continuation of a story that had ended with a cliff-hanger ending? Would it make any sense or would it always be a matter of trying to figure out the “rest of the story,” in a sense, always playing a game of catch up? Well, the answer is: No. This story can be read as a stand-alone.

While the main characters of Angela and Jack were the same, there is little that harkens back to the first story. When there are references to earlier exploits and events, the author deftly explains enough so that the reader is not wandering around in the dark. Because of those little explanations of the characters’ past history, this reader feels compelled to read the first one. Yes, some of the events will be less dramatic, but not so much as to deny the reader from enjoying the tale and getting all the gritty details.

Without too many spoilers, this tale, set in Asia, specifically Macau and Hong Kong, has pirates, smuggling, organized crime, master criminals/thieves, and mercenaries. As the novel opens, a group of pirates opens fire on a small yacht, a yacht that is smuggling a fortune in uncut sapphires. More than that, the pirates stumble upon a greater treasure, and only one man from the crew survives, and he plans to disappear completely with both.

His boss, Angela, isn’t about to let that happen. But, who to trust?

It’s been six years since Jack, known as the Ghostman, last saw Angela; six years since their last caper, the one that was so botched that Jack barely escaped with his life. Frankly, without his partner in crime, Jack has become bored and is gambling away his life when he gets a message he never expected. Angela is alive and needs him to travel to Macau immediately.

Without a thought for his safety (can she really be alive?), he takes off only to find himself running for his life again. Finally, the two re-connect, and it is up to the two of them to retrieve the merchandise (the sapphires) without getting themselves killed. Non-stop action and dangerous situations liberally litter this thriller that has them caught between a mercenary and a triad (an organized crime family). Ultimately, will either of them survive, and if so, will they get merchandise before pulling another vanishing act?

The writing style and the plot is reminiscent of the novels of Gerald Browne, a writer this reader has enjoyed over the years. Twists and turns, double-crosses, intrigue, and more make for compelling can’t-put-it-down reading. Hobbs gives a bit of background information to enhance the reader’s understanding of unfamiliar concepts, but not in a heavy-handed manner. Overall, it’s a suspenseful read that is complete as is, but leaves potential for more from this author. Will there be another story featuring Jack?

As for this reader, it is time to read Ghostman.

(Gerald Browne’s novels include Stone 588, 18mm Blues, Hot Siberian, and 19 Purchase Street among others.)

 

 

Secrets of Men…in a Lifeboat: A Review

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Secrets of Men…in a Lifeboat, debut novel of Todd R. Baker, was the latest Goodreads giveaway this pedometer geek reader had the privilege of reading. This is the extended review.

Secrets of Men…in a Lifeboat

by Todd R. Baker

Published by Aqueous Books, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-55484-5

Writing this review was difficult because this reader both loved this novel and hated this novel. On one hand it is so upbeat and positive, and on the other hand it is a downer and negative. Is this possible? Absolutely, since the protagonist, Luke Morrow, is both a decent, likeable person and also a absolutely deplorable jerk. Without telling too many spoilers, the story is divided into two parts.

As the story begins, down-on-his-luck, single father Luke loves his eight-year-old son Trevor; however, he has over-reached with an entrepreneurial enterprise causing him to lose his job, his home, and maybe even time with his child. To add to his troubles, his ex-wife and her  new husband are contemplating moving across the country and planning on taking Trevor with them.

With everything weighing him down, he is contemplating suicide. On the verge of killing himself, Luke undergoes a miracle or actually many of them. Luke then becomes a successful, but brutal man, taking no prisoners as he uses friends, employees, lovers, and anyone who crosses his path until they become liabilities. He becomes everything he thought he was destined to be when he was down and out. Yet, in the end, the outcome may be the same when a monumental choice must be made that will affect his son and him.

This decision will be one of life or death, and which will he choose? Can (and will) he make the right choice? Will there be one more miracle for Luke?

A few impressions from the novel: This reader loved the interactions between Luke (before) and Trevor. He is obviously a great father, who loves his kid and tries to do everything he can to make a good life for him. On the other hand, the interactions between Luke (after) and Trevor are downright sad and shows just how brutal a man Luke has become. Although though there were plenty of memorable characters in the story, one ancillary character stood out in this reader’s mind: One Leg. The cover of the book, that of a budding lemon tree, which Luke and Trevor call the lemonette tree, was absolutely gorgeous, too.

An issue worth noting was the constantly changing name of Luke’s assistant. Sometimes it was Stacy; other times it was Tracy (one time on consecutive pages). Intentional or not, it was confusing and frankly, this reader wasn’t sure which was the correct name or if they were really two different characters.

One particular passage struck this reader as truly profound. Starting the quotes with Luke’s words, alternating with Trevor’s words, and so on,

“…you still remember what my real job is, the only important one?”

“I forget.”

“My job is to love you. What’s your job?”

“I forget.”

“Your job is to be a kid. And you know what I say? The two easiest jobs in the world.” (page 15)

 

 

 

The Girl Before: A Review

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This pedometer geek reader generally reads the Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) received in order, but an exception was made for this Goodreads giveaway book, The Girl Before, written by J.P. Delaney. My apologies to those that were skipped over (and they will be read and reviewed soon), but, boy, was this book one on-the-edge-of-the-your-seat psychological thriller. 

The Girl Before

by J.P. Delaney

Published by Ballantine Books, 2017

an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC

ISBN: 978-0-425-28504-6

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.”

Thus begins the spellbinding novel that follows two women, Emma and Jane, who both move into the residence at One Folgate Street and have their lives transformed by the place.

One Folgate Street is an austere, totally uncluttered, and state-of-the-art high-tech rental, but not everyone who applies to live there passes the intense scrutiny of the leasing agent-owner. A final interview with the architect, Edward Monkford, who designed the place determines if the person is worthy to live there. Questionnaires and rules abound…including two hundred stipulations that must be agreed to in advance. In fact, few make the cut, but for those that do, their lives will never be the same in this psychological thriller.

For Emma and Jane, there are eerie similarities between them. So eerie that they could almost be one and the same person as the parallels between them makes Jane research her predecessor. Each of them has had a personal tragedy that sets them up for living in this space. For Jane, after hearing about Emma, she sets out to find out just how much they are alike.

Alternating between Emma’s point of view (then) and Jane’s (now), the same patterns are chillingly repeated. Even the same descriptions, the same words. In the end, will Jane suffer the same fate as Emma; will she experience the same terror as the girl before?

Intense, spellbinding, and twisted, this thriller will have the reader questioning everything and everyone, and the heart-stopping action doesn’t end until the final page. Saying much more than this would provide spoilers, and this is too mesmerizing a book to give away any more details. This reader’s recommendation: read it.

One other mystery to be solved: who is J.P. Delaney? It is a pseudonym is all that Goodreads indicates.

 

 

 

Hart’s Desire: A Review

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The most recent Goodreads First Reads giveaway novel that this pedometer geek read was Hart’s Desire, the debut novel of Chloe Flowers. This proof copy was even signed by the author. This is the extended review.

Hart’s Desire

by Chloe Flowers

Published by Flowers & Fullerton, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63303-997-1

Hart’s Desire is the first in a series of historical romances that are subtitled Pirates and Petticoats. The others in the saga are Hart’s Passion and Hart’s Reward. The author also has at least one other novel, Pirate Heiress (which this reader has also received through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway, but I digress).

Opening the book itself, this reader found several things that were truly refreshing. First and foremost was the author’s Acknowledgment page which started with her thanks to Kathleen Woodiwiss and her novel A Rose in Winter, which turned her into an avid reader of historical romances. For a debut author, she is particularly savvy about thanking those who have helped her along the way. Moreover, she even included a letter to her readers thanking them for reading and giving her feedback and opinions on the story. She further indicates to contact her if any typos or mistakes are noticed despite the book have undergone professional editing and proofreading. In addition to this, she even suggests loaning it to a friend after finishing.

At the end, she again writes a letter to the reader again expressing her appreciation for reading her novel. Added to that Ms. Flowers also includes a few recipes prepared by one of the characters (Ruth) in the story.

Now, about the story itself. Set in Charleston, South Carolina prior to the War of 1812, this romance features green-eyed Keelan Grey as a feisty, spirited, and beautiful young woman and Landon Hart, the sea-going captain of the Desire. When first they meet, Hart and his partner Conal O’Brien mistake Keelan for a young boy. Dressed as a young lad, Keelan is being trained in self-defense by her father’s servant Daniel. It is only after she removes her scarf does Landon realize his mistake, and he is entranced with her spirit and beauty.

Because of her late mother’s experience, Keelan knows the heartbreak of loving a man of the sea and vows to never let it happen to her, yet she can’t help but fall for the dashing Hart.  This especially is true when he becomes an ally, protecting her more than once. Then she finds that his kisses are delightful even if the first one comes as a bribe to keep one of her secrets.

Keelan’s father is dying so, being concerned for her future welfare, he wants her to get married, and an arranged marriage is in the works. That, however, is not in Keelan’s plans for her life, and the two suitors, elderly Mr. Pratt and Everett Garrison, her father’s physician, are not of her choosing. Still, Landon, the man who captures her heart, is a rake, and she doesn’t want to admit to her feelings for him even when she finds herself in a compromising position.

When she is forced to make a decision about whom she will marry, she reluctantly agrees to one of the three, but which one? Will she admit what she feels for Landon, or will she marry another?

Writing a historical novel is always tricky, but the author has managed to make the  language and the situations seem true to the times. Despite the editing, there are a few mistakes, but none are so glaring as to destroy the enjoyment of the story. The most egregious is the repeated misspelling of the word, court-martial.

While the story ends on the pair’s happily-ever-after, there is still a mystery to be resolved in the following novel. With an excerpt of the next novel Hart’s Passion included in this proof, the author gives enough background from this one that a reader wouldn’t be totally lost if he or she happened to miss this one and started with the second novel. As for this reader, hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to read the other two in order. That the author loves one of my favorite romances, A Rose in Winter, is just an added plus.

 

 

 

Becoming Lisette: A Review

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The latest giveaway novel this pedometer geek read was Rebecca Glenn’s debut novel, Becoming Lisette. It is the first in a series of three historical novels about the French artist, Lisette Vigée. The author was kind enough to gift this reader with an e-book copy of this novel, but that in no way affected this extended review.

Becoming Lisette: A Novel

by Rebecca Glenn

Published by Zinerva Publishing, LLC, 2015

ISBN: 9781941081204

This reader loves to read historical fiction so it was a pleasure to read this story of Élisabeth Vigée, known to her family and friends as Lisette. In fact, after finishing the novel, this reader was compelled to Google her. Did she exist? Absolutement! Yes, she did and the information reflects so much of what I learned in the novel. In other words, Rebecca Glenn told the story well and makes this reader hunger for the further adventures of Lisette (there are two more novels planned according to her bio on Goodreads). In my post-novel research I also found that the cover is actually one of Lisette’s self-portraits.

In this novel, art and history are truly intertwined in the story of Lisette Vigée. Set in Paris, France during the beginning of the reign of King Louis and Marie Antoinette, a time when women were not encouraged to be anything other than a wife, Lisette wanted to be an artist just like her father, Louis Vigée. In fact, her skill with a brush is superior to his, and she is determined to follow in her father’s footsteps despite her mother Jeanne’s desire to make her into marriage material.

Unfortunately, her father dies when she is young, throwing her plans into disarray. Money is short; a fire has destroyed many of her father’s completed canvases; and when her mother remarries, her stepfather is determined that she paint only portraits for his clients. As her new guardian, he can control her painting by denying her access to pigments and materials, and he does. Up to a point, that is, because he is dealing with a most determined young woman in Lisette.

The author transports the reader to the 1770s, recalling the excesses of French nobility, the fashions, the mores, and the realities of Paris. Lisette’s spirit shines through as she fights to be more than a portrait painter, risking everything including jail to be able to paint other genres like allegories. Fortunately, along the way, she cultivates friendships with some powerful people who are willing to risk much to ensure her talent is allowed to flourish despite her stepfather Le Sèvre’s behind-the-scenes machinations.

As mentioned above, the novel is the first in a trilogy, but it does stand on its own merits. It is complete as is, yet the opening is there for continuing her fascinating story. Lisette’s character is fully fleshed out, and it is easy enough to root for her as she takes risks to be able to live the life that she desires. Glenn brings the sights and sounds of pre-Revolutionary France to life.

For those who love to read about historical figures, the history of the time, and the French culture, this is a story about an unstoppable woman, doing what she must to succeed against the odds. It is well worth the read, and I, for one, can’t wait for the next in the series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nobody But You: A Review

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Following up the thriller Solitude Creek with a contemporary romance, this is the extended review of the latest Goodreads First Reads giveaway novel, Nobody But You, which this pedometer geek reader had the pleasure of reading.

Nobody But You

by Jill Shalvis

Published by Grand Central Publishing, 2016

a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

ISBN: 978-1-4555-8680-6

Although Jill Shalvis has over twenty titles (including a cookbook) to her name, this is the first of hers this pedometer geek has read. It won’t be the last because there are others of hers that this reader owns, but I digress.

This romance novel, one of a series called Cedar Ridge, proves you can go home again, or at least find that person to make it home as it does for Sophia Marren and Jacob Kincaid.
Jacob, home on military leave after a deployment gone badly wrong, is not planning on staying in Cedar Ridge when he finally leaves the service. His issues with his family, particularly his identical twin Hudson, keep him purposely isolated. Having lost Brett, his brother-in-arms, and his brother-in arms Chris’s loss of limb in the same battle, he has become a half-empty glass kind of man…wanting to keep everyone away.
Enter green-eyed Sophia, a half-full glass kind of woman. Optimistic despite her temp jobs and  reduced circumstances, she doesn’t want any man since her divorce a year earlier from Lucas. The pair meets when she illegally parks…actually moors…the boat at his dock. She is living on the boat post-divorce by the way. Taking him for a lake patrol officer, they butt heads for the first time. Actually, this happens more than once until each lets down their guard during a single malt whisky-fueled game of Three Lies and a Truth. From there, passionate chemistry overrides their senses. (My husband, like Jacob, groaned at the idea of a twenty-five-year old Glenlivet being wasted to rechristen the boat from The Lucas to The Little Lucas; actually, he tends toward the twelve-year-old Glenlivet, but I digress.)
Will Jacob come to grips with his family? Will Sophia find love despite her reservations? What will happen to the boat that is still desired by her ex? Will they both find a home in Cedar Ridge?
While part of a series, this romance can be read without reading the previous two. The story has some spicy, erotic scenes and some graphic language. There are tender, heartbreaking moments particularly in regards to the way wounded soldiers are treated. There are also some hilarious moments as well, keeping it light (the fact that Sophie has issues with seasickness to the point that she has to wear a Transderm-Scop patch to deal with her living arrangements made this reader love her. Suffering from the same affliction, I can certainly sympathesize with her problems with seasickness, but I digress once again.) The characters are refreshing and realistic, making this a series that this reader wants to explore further. Overall, it’s a lighthearted romance with elements of compassion, and of course, this novel wouldn’t be complete without a few What-the-tuck trends scattered throughout. Check them out as well as the other two novels in the Cedar Ridge Series:  Second Chance Summer and My Kind of Wonderful (excerpts from both are included with the paperback.)

 

 

 

Solitude Creek: A Review

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The latest Goodreads giveaway novel this pedometer read was a novel by Jeffery Deaver called Solitude Creek. This suspense thriller is another in a series of books that stars Kathryn Dance. This reader has had the pleasure of reading both Roadside Crosses and XO previously. In fact, the only one I haven’t read is the first in the series, The Sleeping Doll, but I’m sure it is just a matter of time. In the meantime, this is the extended review of  the fourth book in the series, Solitude Creek.

Solitude Creek

by Jeffery Deaver

Published by Grand Central Publishing, 2015

a division of the Hachette Book Group

ISBN: 978-1-4555-1717-6

 

To repeat, this suspenseful thriller features the California Bureau of Investigation (abbreviated as CBI) agent Kathryn Dance. The fourth in the series, they all can stand alone without the necessity of reading the others; however, having read two of the previous novels, they are definitely worth reading.

Dance is a kinesics (body language) expert for the CBI, which means she can read a person’s body language to tell if the person is lying or not. Whether it is her own children, her boyfriend, witnesses, or suspects, she can generally figure out the truth from the lies.

Kathryn, working on trying to break up a pipeline of drugs coming across the border, makes a major mistake in this case, which costs her badge in the Criminal Investigations department. She is now bumped down to the Civil Division unit (Civ-Div as it is referred to) and the loss of her firearm, yet at the same time, she is also ostensibly investigating a possible domestic terrorist case in which patrons were locked into a burning building, causing mayhem and death. Except there was no fire, just people being panicked into stampeding. So, is it a matter of insurance fraud by the owner? It is up to Dance to figure out what occurred at the nightclub, and she stretches her authority.

Added to this, Kathryn has two children and a boyfriend, who, with their own issues, add to the chaos of her life. Trying to keep a balance between her family and her work life, which at the present is the investigation of a killer, who is using fear as a weapon, is never easy. Twists and turns keep the action moving as Dance and her partner track down the devious killer, who seems to always be one step ahead of them. Deaver keeps the suspense building and the reader guessing until the very end in the complex story.

 

 

We Eat Our Own: A Review

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Normally this pedometer geek reader only reviews books received through giveaways. It is the way for an appreciative reader to highlight those books and help authors get some much needed recognition. Hopefully, these reviews translate into a sale or two for these books.

Despite what many people believe there isn’t a great deal of money in books for most authors. Writers (like other artists) spend hours upon hours writing with no guarantee of ever recouping their time or money. While there are authors who do make money with their craft, most have to keep their day jobs. They write, frankly, because they must write.

Every so often, however, a book comes along that this reader chooses to review, and Kea Wilson’s We Eat Our Own is one of those exceptions.

We Eat Our Own

by Kea Wilson

Published by Scribner, 2016

ISBN: 9781501128318

Kea Wilson’s debut novel is unlike anything this reader has had the pleasure of reading. It’s a literary novel that doesn’t follow many of the known conventions.

We Eat Our Own is the story of the making of a horror film in the Amazon River jungles alongside a shadowy Colombian town comprised of drug cartels and guerilla fighters. The tale is basically told through a second person perspective (which is unusual enough in its own right, but it is more impressive when done by a debut author). There is also the more typical third person exposition as well as a bit of court testimony added to second person point of view.

Another convention that is ignored is the use of quotation marks when the various characters speak. This is reminiscent of Charles Frazier’s novel, Cold Mountain, which didn’t use them in that story, either, yet in this novel, it works…adding to the tension of the plot of the actor being plucked from obscurity into the starring role in a film that seems unbelievable.

For a reader who doesn’t understand all the technicalities of movie making, the descriptions of scenes, film techniques, and other movie situations were enlightening as well.

Because of the perspective in which it was written, YOU learn about the movie process, YOU become immersed in the world of the Colombian jungles and all that goes on behind the scenes, and YOU are given a front row seat into the mind of the protagonist (the American actor plucked from obscurity) Richard Trent/Adrian White.

While the novel is about the making of a horror film (and this reader is not particularly a fan of the horror film genre), the story itself isn’t a horror story at all. There are some graphic scenes, however; there are some rather gruesome descriptions of gory events, yet it wasn’t particularly scary to this reader. In fact, because of an overactive imagination, this reader kept expecting worse (much like those tense, suspenseful moments in a horror movie).

Overall, it’s a literary novel that is well worth the read if only for its unique style and insights.