Juan Williams makes frequent appearances on Fox News as a member of The Five. I observed him make frequent observations that were well thought out but not always in agreement with the “other four.” When offered an early reviewer copy of his book by Library Thing, I accepted because I wanted to see if his writing style differs from his appearance “voice.” It does not. In return for the early copy, what follows is the review I submitted.

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I reviewed Patrick Kearney: The True Story of The Freeway Killer by Jack Rosewood in return for a free copy of the book.

I did not read this book in a reverse order, from back to front. But I should have. At the 78% point (loc 992) there is a bonus chapter. This chapter was well written and organized, much more than the rest of the book that precedes it. This review will look at the book from the more conventional front to back order.

At some time in your life, usually in the early school years, you may have had this question posed to you. “What would you do if you had all the money in the world?” There are variations of this but you get the idea. In The Check by Claire Wm. Harmony postal carrier Ronald Sizemore never has to think about answering this question. It is not that he has all the money in the world, but he has as much as he wants. In fact, he has more than he wants. He has no idea why, but every time he writes a check, for whatever purpose, it is honored. Then, the money in his checking account is renewed to at least the amount needed, but usually much more.

It is rare my first comment on a book is about its cover, but going back to that “You can’t tell a book by…” cliché, I will start there. The cover is aesthetically pleasing, but with a title like this, it is not the genre I usually choose. That is unfortunate because this is a very good entertaining, informative, and socially relevant read. The author’s writing always held my interest as the content moved swiftly and purposefully ahead. A reader might even discover some background nagging questions that stay in the mind with the hope they will be answered. Those questions just linger from chapter to chapter and provided an additional incentive to keep reading.

About a year ago I was reading a lot and made a decision to write a review every time I finished a book. I felt it would impose some measure of discipline on my reading. Much like running/jogging/exercise, if I missed a scheduled workout, I would feel guilty. Avoiding guilt is good.

Many novels appear with the label “psychological thriller” but the promised content falls flat. Not so with this novel, this one engages the readers mind, twists it, and stirs not so gently. This is full of horror and violence, but not a lot of unnecessary explicit sexual violence. Think of what “snuff films” implies and you get an idea of what kind of gruesomeness you will find in this work. But all of this is the acting out of a psychopath. To find out the why of the actions, refer to the author’s phrasing of how the story unfolds, “it’s like skinning the layers of an onion.”

For those interested in “naughty” books, what could be better than a book about a striptease artist? Now that we have gone past the “prurient interest” stuff, let’s look at what else this book is about.

Mr. Heldrik lives in a house by himself doing nothing more than sitting around and sharpening his knife. The neighbor kids are afraid of him and create rumors that kids who get too close to THAT house risk losing body parts. So, is this going to be a slasher murder/mystery book? No way, this is a fun YA novel with lots of fantasy, an alternative universe, a bit of time travel, and an unstated invitation to make some comparisons to Game of Thrones (GoT).

Although a fan of Stephen King, I stayed away from this for a while with the thought “Not another Kennedy book!!”. Needing another King fix, I came back to this one on the “to read” shelf and found, of course, that it is not another Kennedy book. It is more about the sentient, vengeful, “obdurate” nature of time. To pick another slogan from that time, “Don’t mess with mother nature.”

I like to read several books at the same time. One at work, one or two at home, and a different selection while traveling. The last selection is usually from Kindle Unlimited in the form of a short story. I can finish two or three of them in an Indonesian traffic jam. With this novel, I was unable to switch between reads. I was completely caught up in the story. After finishing it, I went to an author profile page; I will be reading lots more from Chuck Wendig.

Atlanta Burns                                                   by Chuck Wendig