Crimson is a tough one to review for me. After reading Rollo’s fantastic The Jigsaw Man, I couldn’t wait to dive into this one. Out of all the great books that I read in 2014, Jigsaw Man was tied for my absolute favorite. The writing was crisp, the characters were three-dimensional and fully fleshed out, and Rollo made an unbelievable story completely believable. Jigsaw Man was also his second novel. Crimson was his first and it shows. Gord’s fantastic writIng style is still there. But, you can tell he was still cutting his teeth. The characters didn’t feel fully developed and the story had the feel of a puzzle that was put together with the wrong pieces and were made to fit even when they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong. There are still some great ideas explored in Crimson. Unfortunately, all of those ideas didn’t make for a great, cohesive story. I’m going to chalk this up as Rollo learned many things between writing Crimson and Jigsaw Man. If the progression between #2 and #3 as it was for #1 and #2, then the third story of his should be lights out.
3 stars out of 5
Snowblind was a fast and furious read. McBride’s tale, of an annual elk hunting trip for four college buddies now pushing towards their forties, is full of atmosphere and paranoia. While hunting, one of the hunters breaks his leg just as a blizzard is dumping foot after foot of the white stuff on the mountain. Visibility is zero and they’re lost. They eventually stumble onto a dilapidated cabin to get out of the miserable weather. Unfortunately for the hunters, they aren’t alone.
Snowblind was a fun story that fills the reader with dread as you try to put yourself in the characters shoes. What would I do if I were them? Would I be able to survive or would I be the next victim? Great stuff. The only reason that it’s a four star read and not a five is because I would’ve liked to have seen a little more character development. It’s not that they were cardboard cut outs. They were actually interesting and I wanted to know more about them and their backgrounds. I think that would’ve ratcheted the dread up even more by being more invested in the characters.
Pete and his high school friends are looking for a place to party. One of he girls in the group, Sue, suggests that they use her grandpa’s newly built bomb shelter. She knows the code to get in. Once inside, a thunderous noise from the outside shakes the shelter. As Pete looks out of the hatch to see what the commotion is, mushroom clouds fill the horizon and the nightmare begins.
Sparrow Rock is an emotionally-charged entertaining read. It’s strength is its realistic and flawed characters that are developed and revealed throughout the story. As the danger ratchets up, Kenyon does a nice job taking us along for the ride. You feel like you’re in the bomb shelter with the group trying to figure out what to do next. You can almost taste the metallic ash of the fallout, smell the foul odors and feel the tension in the air. The ending wasn’t my favorite and it’s the only thing that keeps the story from being a full five stars. But, Kenyon does such a wonderful job painting the story and characters with such vibrant colors, you realize that Sparrow Rock is more about the journey and not the destination.
4 1/2 stars out of 5
Continue reading Sparrow Rock – Nate Kenyon