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Book Review: His Father’s Son by Bentley Little

June 21, 2011 2 comments

Man walking down dirty hospital hallway.Summary:
Steven’s life in California is so typical it borders on boring.  He writes for AlumniMedia.  He’s engaged to a librarian named Sherry.  He goes out for happy hour every Friday night with his three buddies.  Then one day his mother calls him and informs him his father tried to kill her.  His father has had strokes and dementia, but in a moment of absolute clarity in the VA hospital, his father whispers to Steven, “I killed her.”  Thus begins Steven’s tailspin into a world of darkness and ever-changing morality.

Review:
I believe this book succeeds in serving its purpose–it’s a page-turner with chills.  If someone asked me for a simple thriller for the beach, I’d have no qualms handing this over.  I cannot rid myself of the vibe though that the idea of this book could have led to a thriller of excellent quality instead of beach read quality, and that is a bit disappointing.

The set-up is excellent.  Here we have an ordinary guy with some issues with his parents, but he still tries to live up to his family obligations.  Then his father has an episode that makes mortality something Steve is no longer able to ignore.  Steve then starts this quest that could easily be read as a metaphor for adults dealing with the increased fragility of their parents.  However, about two-thirds of the way through, the plot takes an unexpected twist that then essentially nose-dives off a cliff into a scenario that is jarring and rather insulting to the reader.  The book is not at all about what it at first appeared to be, and honestly, the original concept was much more intriguing than the final answer.  The resolution is cliche, whereas the original set-up was not.

Other than the plot, Little sets scenes fairly well.  It is easy to envision both the simpler scenes as well as the more complex scenes of violence.  His writing style is not particularly memorable though.  I didn’t once feel the need to write down a quote or dog-ear a page.

One of the more interesting elements of the book is that Steven is a writer, and his short stories pepper the book to give you an idea of his mental state at the time.  I honestly enjoyed the short stories more than the actual book itself.  I could easily see myself reading a collection of Little short stories in the future.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, if forgettable, thriller ideally suited to summer beach reading.  I recommend it to fans of thrillers looking for an easy read.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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Reading Challenge: R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril

September 2, 2010 16 comments

Woman in green hue.I love horror.  Love love love it.  I know a lot of readers don’t.  They say it scares them too much or keeps them awake at night.  The thing is, I used to be one of those readers!  I used to avoid horror because when I was younger horror would absolutely petrify me for weeks on end.  I’d think every squeak my old house would make was the boogey-man coming to get me.  But then I decided, “Enough of this shit!  I’m letting my fears get in the way of an entire genre.”  So I dabbled my toes, then I jumped in, and now it’s one of my favorite genres.  Horror lets me get lost in a world where it’s ok to be scared and supernatural things occur and I basically get to watch car crashes repeatedly.  It’s awesome.  The whole genre.  I can’t believe how much I’d be missing if I’d continued to avoid it!  For instance: Zombies. Tree porn. Everything Stephen King ever wrote.  You get my point.

Anyway, so when I saw via Chris at Book-a-rama that Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting a mystery/suspense/thriller/dark fantasy/gothic/horror/supernatural reading challenge for the spooky fall months of September and October entitled R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, I knew I wanted to sign up.  Not that I won’t be reading horror for these two months anyway, but I thought if I signed  up, it’d alert you guys to the challenge.  Maybe one of my lovely readers is tentative about one of those genres?  Well this is the perfect opportunity to stretch your boundaries!  Plus you’ll be in the company of a lovely bunch of people for a couple months to do it.

Of course, that’s my other reason for participating.  I want to virtually meet other book lovers who are reading horror!

Originally, in light of the fact that I try to keep my reading unstructured and fun, I was going to sign up for one of the lower levels of the challenge….then I saw how much of my TBR pile fits! Lol, so I’m signing up for the Peril the First level: read four books that fit into any of the genres I mentioned above.

My potential reads for the challenge (direct from my TBR pile) include:

I hope you’ll sign up and do the challenge with me!  Especially if you’re afraid of horror.  You can sign up for one of the lower levels and just dip your toe in. 🙂

Any votes for which four out of my list I should read?