While reading longer novels, I like to take breaks and refresh thinking with some shorter works, like this one I chose today. Not only is it on Kindle Unlimited, as of the day of this post it is on sale for FREE, easily my favorite choice when it comes to price.
Tom is going to camp. It is 1974, ten years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and he is almost (self-claimed) 16 years old; time to get on with life. (note: He is 14). Besides that, he has to live somewhere while his scientist parents are on a trip to Russia. At a restaurant/diner he is picked up by Davis, a counselor at the camp. The ride to the camp is in the dark, at night, in a pick-up truck, so we have the possibility of pedophilia. Occupants of a passing vehicle throw a beer at the truck while screaming the “n” word, so we have racism, as in “Color War.”
Color War by Bruce McCandless
By the book’s title you would expect to read a story about a criminal, a crooked man. Maybe the identity of the crooked man would be a mystery and that would be the fun of the book, finding out who is the crooked man. But the reader can’t really do that because there are too many crooked men, and a few slightly bent women. I really looked to find one character that could be described as completely innocent. Just when I thought Tubby’s secretary, Cherrylynn, was an innocent, Dunbar hinted at a several-year-long party prior to her employment with Tubby.
This is a Kindle Unlimited novel. Having read a previous Susan May book, I like being able to read more of her work at such a low cost.
Kendall is a freelance writer with no ambitions to be a “writer,” she just wanted to get paid and meet the daily/weekly/monthly financial obligations. Despite her distaste for all things violent, she is assigned by a reliably paying client to do an interview with a survivor of a mass murder attack that occurred in a nearby restaurant. The newspaper accounts of the death of several staff and customers by an ax wielding madman were enough to trigger memories Kendall had of her own mother being murdered. In pursuit of the dollar, off she goes to do an interview and becomes entangled with a series of grotesque murders.
Through the Library Thing Early Reviewer program, I received this book in exchange for a review. I read the introduction and prepared myself for a mental slog as I worked myself through a very dull read. Here is a collection of paraphrases in the introduction that turned me off. This book is about the “anti-corruption rebellion against the Sheriff’s Department and the Mayor’s office in Athens, Tennessee by veterans in the aftermath of World War II.” [Kindle 159-160] Good grief, what a narrow focus, what have I gotten myself into with a promise of a review? Then “If the public demands lies, I will gladly deliver them with this second attempt at historical fiction.” [Kindle 171]. Oh, no, this is a second attempt!! She even defined her first attempt as poetry, a genre I avoid. I chose something else to read but resigned myself to come back to this and finish a promised review. This is not yet available in a Kindle format, the image is from Amazon in an alternative format.
The first hint that this was going to be a great read was the author’s following statement, “Historical fiction is an oxymoron, as history is the telling of a true story, and fiction is the telling of a lie; thus, when one writes historical fiction, one is attempting a true lie, and I have not found a dictionary definition for how true the lie has to be.” [Kindle 193-195]. If I had read that far on my first attempt, I would never have abandoned my first reading attempt. That statement foreshadowed the great writing that was to come.
I have read some short vampire fiction by Atkinson, was not impressed and only minimally entertained. When I saw this tagged as Scottish historical fiction, I downloaded the sample (free) and was quite impressed, enough to buy the book. I am not sure about “historical” fiction part. Where is the history? It is not history in by my usual definition, but it is history if I consider the language used. There is so much vocabulary unique to Scotland that this might fit into the category “history.” It is fiction with a terrible theme developed so well through the deft use of language that some of the terror is diluted to almost acceptable discourse.
Throwing Clay Shadows by Thea Atkinson
Maggie lost her mother though childbirth of a baby sister; the sister died also. It was months before Maggie could appreciate death, she really only knew absence. And she accepted responsibility for whatever took Ma and baby sister away. In order to not further cause havoc that would take father away, she stops talking.
This is a Kindle Unlimited book and I read it for free. OK, I pay for the subscription to Kindle Unlimited, but you get the idea. It was on my TBR shelf for a while because I was in my genre switching mode.
An additional, secondary title of A Gripping Psychological Thriller attracted me to this book. I expect the author to make me think as I consider the more twisted part of a mind bent away from the norm of societal codes. There is a fast start with two young people, Timmy and Sarah, escaping from what might be a house of horror, compounded by an accident that leaves one dead and the other mute as a result of trauma. Right away, I want to know what went on in that house, ostensibly an orphanage, that caused one of its staff members help the kids escape.
We immediately jump from 1987 to a 2014 (we know this because dates serve as chapter titles) mental hospital where a cannibalistic patient is scheduled for transfer to another facility. His penchant for eating the hospital staff as well as his gigantic size dictate a ten-person guard detail while the giant cannibal is in transit. Psychological thriller and mental hospital, OK, that tracks.
The Night of the Mosquito by Max China