Andrew Foster, a real estate developer in San Diego, is a man suddenly haunted by his past. Memories, like specters from his former life of sex, drugs and rock and roll have come crashing into his current world of business in this sunny coastal city. The ominous, repeated appearance of a black SUV at the beach where he meets his sister each week, has triggered fears that it’s payback time for a bad choice he made years ago.
To add to his frustrations, his hopes of a big breakthrough in the San Diego real estate market haven’t come to pass. He’s starting to wonder if his visions of success will ever come true when an investor offers to finance his dream project. Soon things start to fall into place for Andrew in business, life, and even love. He starts dating the beautiful and business-savvy Nicole but even with her at his side he can’t seem to shake the ghosts of his past. As the relationship with Nicole deepens, Andrew opens up to her about the many loves and adventures that have taken him from the crazy days of living in Big Sur and Joshua Tree to business success in San Diego. Her wise insights help him face the character flaws that have caused him to fail in his past relationships.
Rounding out his social life is his once-a-week task of assisting his sister with her nanny job watching a young boy named Chandler. They build sand castles on the beach and enjoy the beauty of nature together. But the now ominous weekly appearance of a strange car at the beach has awakened Andrew’s fears. Is the boy in danger? Or worse, has an enemy from Andrew’s past come seeking revenge and now Chandler’s caught in the middle? A strange twist of events threatens to destroy Andrew’s dreams, but as he searches for answers, a sudden revelation offers hope of a future he never imagined.
Story telling is in my blood. Since I was young I've always loved a good tale. I've been writing seriously since I was in high school and college. I've written in the realm of Sci-Fi and Fantasy and now with my latest novel, Boy On The Beach I'm setting the story in modern America, to be exact, the West Coast of California. I'm a native of the golden state and have been a resident of San Diego since 1987. Before that I grew up in northern California and lived in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area with sojourns in some of the beautiful parts of our state. Living here through several generations I couldn't help but watch the way things have changed in our culture and the impact this coast makes on the rest of America and the world.
I love the simple and intriguing cover and the title does its job of making me curious,. Why is he on the beach, what is he doing and who is he doing it with?
The mystery of what and why kept me reading. What is that black SUV doing? Is it his past come to claim vengeance? Is the child the target? What happened to the girl, Blaire? The one he crushed Amber for?
The story is so not what I was expecting and at first I was very disappointed. As I traveled from the past to the present and back again I was seeing his life unfold, how he came to be where he is now.
Donovan is hard to care about. It’s like he’s only getting what he gave. His ugliness overcomes anything good, if there is anything. His motives are selfish. You know, Karma can be a nasty one. Actions have consequences.
Boy on the Beach shows Donovan’s life, the good, the bad and the ugly. I love a flawed character. I want to know how he came to be the person he is and if it is possible for him to redeem himself. Sounds a bit like real life.
The mystery keeps me guessing, but I never felt a sense of darkness or urgency that I crave in my thrillers. If you are looking for a ‘Beach’ read, Boy on the Beach may be the ticket for its easy reading.
I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of Boy on the Beach by R D Maddux.
Boy on the Beach is the newest release by RD Maddux. I thought the book was a little different from my normal read, but it was pretty good. The writing style is unique and refreshing. The book goes back-and-forth between two time periods. Andrew Foster is an interesting character. I was not sure about him at first but he grew on me about 50 pages in. I admire his success as a developer in San Diego, California. I was intrigued to find out what was in his past that he was trying to get away from. I loved it when Nicole was introduced to the story. I admired her wise ways. She helps bring into a whole new perspective of his past for him. It seems as though he has everything he could ask for but still cannot let go. I was in suspense wondering what was he was running from. Then things start really picking up when he started interacting with Chandler, the boy his sister was in charge of as a nanny. This leads to some mystery and twists that made me want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Andrew find some himself searching for answers of: Why? Where does he go from here? I was surprised by how it all ended and I would have never predicted it at all. I thought Boy on the Beach was pretty good. I would give it 4 1/2 stars. I believe it to be a must read. I will be looking for more by this author in the future.
I received this book from the author. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
3.5 Stars. I was drawn to the cover of this book and then the cover blurb enticed me even further. Neither really represents the crux of the story told in Boy on the Beach, but it’s time well-spent between the book’s covers nonetheless.
The first chapter of the book is action-packed, heart racing, and quickly hooks the reader into the world of Andrew Foster. After that, there is less heart racing and more heart wrenching. For the majority of Boy on the Beach, readers are sitting on the shoulder of main character Andrew. At times, it feels like we’re reading his journaling where he summarizes events and his feelings about them. Other times, we’re right there with him thirty-seven years ago or in current times as his life unfolds. Author R.D. Maddux uses the flashbacks and summarizing to move the story forward and selectively fills-in holes without bogging down the plot. Readers have an advantage over Andrew due to the sprinkling of chapters told from a different character’s viewpoint. These chapters take much of the mystery out of the story, and at times feel awkward, but they allow the dread to build for the train wreck that readers see coming but which Andrew only feels is coming. Further adding to the interest is that Andrew thinks he deserves what is coming, in whatever way it manifests itself.
“One word that shouldn’t be part of a life graced with wealth, a beautiful spouse, gorgeous children, and an amazing career. One word: Revenge.”
Boy on the Beach is a study in human nature and illustrates some of the best but more of the worst mankind has to offer – and most importantly, the consequences of those unsavory characteristics. For me, young Andrew is not a likable character. He is immature and horribly selfish and justifies his actions because he feels entitled to have what’s not his and to live the life he wants, regardless of the fallout. Though fifty-seven-year-old Andrew has matured and evolved in some ways, I still didn’t find him overly likable; however, I could see that he may have been getting there with the help of his sister, young Chandler, and his love interest, Nicole. Sadly, none of those characters or relationships have a big enough role in the story. Their parts are minor in the story even though it’s clear they are major contributors to Andrew’s growth. The result is that readers don’t experience much of these relationships, but they see the potential positive impacts of them being an influence on Andrew and his attitudes and thinking, and that does help.
Readers who remember the free-love and drug haze aspect of the sixties/seventies will certainly enjoy Andrew’s flashbacks to that era and lifestyle. Maddux’s attention to details really paints a picture of everything from jam sessions to psychedelic tripping after eating peyote buttons. While I couldn’t relate to that aspect (but found it fascinating), from a personal standpoint, I do relate to and enjoy the California setting. I’m familiar with these exact towns and places north of San Diego, so I can easily visualize the nooks and crannies of Swami’s beach, the June gloom, and the promise held in those beautiful sunsets. Maddux writes some fabulous sentences and has some rich descriptions that show he not only has a real love for his setting, but he also is a talented writer. Unfortunately, that talent is overshadowed by the need for some additional editing (unnatural dialogue, telling not showing, holes) and a lack of proofreading of the text. There are numerous SPAG errors, some formatting glitches, and no page numbers, all of which, for me, were distracting and detracted from the quality of the book.
Overall, there is a fascinating story told in Boy on the Beach, and there are even a few surprises that show-up that make for a satisfying ending. Readers are left with an impression that many people’s lives are about to get better, and that hopeful vibe was just the right way to end the book.
Thank you to iRead Book Tours and the author for sharing a print copy of this book with me in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. This full review and other special features on Hall Ways Blog
The past returns to threaten a man's dreams in a thrilling mystery which dives into some basic questions surrounding life, dreams and consequences.
Andrew is past his mid-fifties and still hopes to find success with his business, although his life up to that point hasn't been extremely blessed in many areas. While assisting is sister with weekly excursions to the beach to play with a boy she nannies, he discovers he or the boy are under constant surveillance. The rest of his life, though, seems to be looking up as a hoped for job appears to be coming through and he finally dates a woman with which he's making a deep connection. But things are about to take an unexpected and unpleasant turn.
This is a mystery with many deep, personal layers. Andrew is a character with a rough past. His memories of the past bring out his selfish and reckless side, while the 'current' him has matured. However, he does not regret his earlier decisions and actions. Although this visitation with Andrew during both time periods allows the reader to gain a very good look into his character, his personality is hard to warm up to. Even later in the book, his tale is intriguing enough to make it hard to put the read down, but it's hard to say he's likable. And as a character, this kept him a little at bay.
Time as well as points of view change from chapter to chapter. While most of the concentration stays with Andrew and his past or present, other characters fall in to help deepen the plot at the right moments. Each chapter begins with the name of the person and the date (whether future or past), helping to keep it clear what is happening and when. It's important to pay attention to these chapter headings, so as not to grow confused.
Andrew has a lot to learn in these pages, while a multi-layered mystery unfolds around him. The side characters not only assist in disclosing the intrigue and reasons behind the mystery, but assist Andrew along is journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately, these characters miss a bit of depth which could have enriched them as well as the rest of the story.
As to the mystery, the secrets are hidden enough to keep the truth hidden until a very unexpected ending. While the first chapter begins with action pure, the following pages slow down and allow the background, personalities and hidden webs to unfold. Toward the end, the pacing picks up again and leaves the reader with an ending which is hard to see coming but wraps up things nicely.
I'm giving this a 3.5 stars and rounding up. I received a complimentary copy and found it intriguing enough of a read to want to leave my honest thoughts.
Boy on the Beach by R.D. Maddux is a moderately-paced yet suspense-filled drama featuring Andrew Foster as the protagonist. Andrew is a 57-year old real estate developer who is down on his luck in his professional life and filled with regret regarding his personal one. The one spot of joy for him is his weekly visits with Chandler, the young child for whom his sister is the nanny. When Andrew notices a strange vehicle that seems to be following he and Chandler, he wonders if Chandler is in trouble or if it's his past that is catching up with him or both! The reader is taken on an engaging emotional rollercoaster that alternates between present day and 37 years in Andrew's past to a surprising conclusion!
I found the book's synopsis enticing, and I looked forward to diving into this story. The title of the book is a bit of a misnomer as it leads the reader to believe the book's focus is the little boy - Chandler. The actual story is interesting and pushes the reader forward in a quest to learn what's really going on in Andrew's life. Therefore, I think it would be better served with a more appropriately-descriptive title.
The story is set in California, and it helps frames the plot. However, the author offers up acronyms and shortcuts without explanation for the non-Californian's benefit. There was an overabundance of the main character's mental or self talk. While each chapter changed perspectives from one character to another, the majority of the chapters focused on Andrew's perspective, and he often appeared a little whiny in his self-reflection. While an interesting character, I didn't find Andrew to be very likable. I honestly feel like some of what he received was just.
As an African American blogger, I often try to read and review from that perspective. One interesting tidbit in the book for me was the description of Nicole, Andrew's love interest. When they first meet, in his mental talk, Andrew focuses on her age (40-ish) and her physical appearance saying she was "working hard to keep the wrinkles at bay." It made me pause and smile because being a 40-ish woman, wrinkles are not something I have to contend with.
In many of Andrew's flashbacks he shares his experiences during the period of free love in which people pretty much did whatever they wanted with respect to sexual intimacy and drug use. The author provides some pretty detailed accounts of what it feels like to have an acid trip, making me wonder if some of this was autobiographical. Not to sound like too much of a prude, but I will never understand what people get out of drugs. The whole thing sounded rather unpleasant to me.
At about the halfway point of the book, it's hard to discern exactly because the book contained no page numbers, the author finally tied the past with the present to get us to the peak of the action and make an understanding of the previously two disparate stories. The second half of the book takes the reader to the rather nice and tidy conclusion.
Recommendation: This book kept my attention. I liked the story, but I think there could be some improvements to the structure and writing to help make this great premise a tighter, more enjoyable novel.
Until next time ... Read on!
Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.
I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.
Andrew Foster is a complicated character. I wanted to like him and he has some good characteristics but when he was young he was self-centered and even cruel at times. Now that he's older, he realizes that he made some mistakes but he doesn't really seem to regret those mistakes. He believes he may finally have a chance to make enough money to be well off and not have to worry about paying the bills that he's never been able to keep up with. He's also met a woman and after all of his failed relationships, he may have learned enough to make this one work. He's never had children, but his sister is a nanny for a young boy who comes to think of Andrew as a good friend. Everything seems to be coming together...
I knew that some twist had to be coming as I read but I had to keep reading to find out exactly what it was. I guessed a couple of the twists but not all of them. Boy on the Beach kept my attention most of the time. Sometimes Andrew's thoughts and feelings were a bit repetitive. I think it would be much better with a good edit, not only because of the repetition but there were quite a few punctuation mistakes.
Boy on the Beach takes an interesting angle of both past and present and how our past actions can sometimes come back to haunt us.
Andrew had a very interesting and unique past, with the carefree lifestyle of casual sex and drugs. At that point in his life he was selfish and at times uncaring. His actions were done in the moment with little thought to the future and to others. While at times, this served him well he did make a few enemies this way. One in the form of the woman he had thought he was going to marry at one point and the other in the form of a man who claimed he had spiritual powers and could lay curses on others.
In our present view of Andrew, we see a man who has struggled with his personal business and the demons that haunt him from his past. He has made a few business deals but not enough in the building industry to make a name for himself. When the dream job lands at his feet, he is cautious at first but throws that all to the wind for the chance to complete his dream job. What he didn't know were the lies, betrayal and revenge that were hidden behind this dream job that left me as the reader reeling.
This was an intense story of betrayal and revenge. As we flip from his past to his present, we are presented with a complete story of how Andrew made it to where he was and we find out more about why someone would want to hurt him with his business. When we find out the connections between our characters, my mind was blown - I never saw it coming! While it was a shock, the ending left me with a sense of hope and maybe some peace for Andrew. That he could finally forgive his own actions and move forward, making better choices for his future and those who he loves.
In this novel, it opens with Andrew reflecting on earlier years, when he was caught up in drugs, sex, and careless adventures. Bringing his thoughts back to the present, he questions his choices in giving up everything in pursuit of financial success. Now in his "mid-life" he is alone, except for his niece. She has him assisting her, once a week, in entertaining a six year old boy she is overseeing. He will greatly miss the time he spends on the beach with him, when his niece no longer tends the boy. However, lately, he has noticed the same ominous RV with black tinted windows, parked near their position on the beach. The same vehicle has been parked near his office building, then close by his home. Is someone from his past stalking him? He can't bear the thought of the boy in danger, so hires a friend who is, also, an Investigative detective. He must know who it is! The story reverts back and forth between past and present, but it is done so "smoothly" it is easy for the reader to follow without losing interest.The gradually unfolding mystery and the building suspense keeps the reader captivated and trying to figure out, "who id\s it". until the very end! The characters are easily envisioned and the scenes are described fairly well. -They slightly lacked a vividly clear "picture" The Book cover was simple and okay, but would, most likely, fail to attract "the browser", as would the Title, although it is a "fitting play on words". The story was quite creatively unique. Reader Beware: There are sexual situations but not totally explicit. There is also some profanity. *This book was gifted me with no requirement for a positive review. This is my honest review.
When the skeleton in your closet comes out and haunt you
Life is so short and sometimes we did stupid things that will haunt us in time we are not expecting. A boy on the beach is a story of old flings that create vengeance you never expected to happen. It is an intriguing story yet captivating. It will shock you at the same time mesmerized you.
Hatred is an evil thing and vengeance is even worse. It affects everybody not only in your family but works as well. It is nice to let go of the skeleton in your closet and not hiding it. This story is so beautiful and is so touching. I cannot wait to read the second book.
I loved the setting. Beach is always beautiful especially listening to the waves. It will calm you down and drown your thoughts.
I had mixed feelings while reading this book - some of the time I felt for Andrew and what was he was going through as we flipped back and forth in this life (37 years in the past, age 20) and the present (57), and some of the time I thought he deserved what was happening to him. He is rather arrogant when it comes to women. He is fast approaching 60 but was negative towards women just hitting 40, like they weren't worth being around. But that sort of behavior is expected in shallow men that expect a trophy to hang on their arm.
Andrew aside, the story was a slower pace until the end when the events were coming to a head. While I sort of suspected different pieces of the story, I was very surprised at how the story ended. There are some questions I have that were left unanswered, but it wrapped up a few things. There was some misdirection regarding Andrew's development and the financial partner. I couldn't quite figure out why Donovan would tell Landon why he was doing what he was doing to Andrew. The years didn't quite match up so I couldn't figure out the truth.
I'm not 100% sure what years the past encompassed. My guess is the 60's based on comments of free love and the number of drugs that were present. Plus the characters were living in communes and referred to as hippies. It was an interesting look into this part of the past and the author's vision for that time frame.
Overall a decent story that is wrapped up somewhat nicely at the end (most questions are answered). I would have liked a faster pace, but that is my preference.
Boy on the Beach is a story that makes us re-examine our past actions. It makes us realise the impact those actions may have on our present and future selves.
Don't expect fast-paced action from this book. That is not what it is all about. It is contemplative and thoughtful. It examines the personalities of the main characters. Also, it gives rich details about their individual make-up. It is not necessary to like any particular character in this book in order to thoroughly enjoy the story. Andrew as a young man is selfish and self-centred. He is a difficult person to empathise with but it is still interesting to see his story unfold and how the actions of Andrew then influence the life of Andrew now.
Andrew was a true child of his times. As a young man, he indulged in a lifestyle of casual sex and drug taking. Never looking ahead to see the possible consequences of his actions. When presented with the chance to accept responsibility and think of more than his own immediate wants and needs he runs away and leaves others to cope without him.
Many years later he contemplates a life filled with loneliness and missed opportunities but until he is forced to acknowledge the fact that his current unhappiness is directly linked to his lifestyle as a young man he fails to see the connection.
For me, there seemed to be two main messages coming out of this story, Firstly - accept your past, learn from it and move on. Secondly - don't become so obsessed with revenge that you end up replicating a variation of the behaviour of the person who caused you harm. If you like your mysteries and thrillers to have a moral edge then give this one a try. I'm sure you will like it.
Andrew Foster is a struggling real estate developer. He is haunted by past and feels his career is stalled. When an angel investor offered to fund Andrew's dream project, he feels his life is back on track. However, when he visits his sister on the beach each week, he sees a black SUV that follows him. When a strange twist of events threatens his dreams, will Andrew be able to survive?
I thought the novel was an interesting read with a good plot twist. However, I found myself hating Andrew and hoping terrible things keep happening to him. I felt like he was very self-centered and inconsiderate. I thought he was caused a lot of his own suffering and to others but, he was mostly dismayed when things turn out badly for him. I felt as if he considered other people and wasn't self-indulgent, things might have been better for him.
Boy on the Beach by R.D. Maddux was a well written book that just felt so real. I knew it was fiction, but it really felt like non-fiction. I loved Andrew Foster's interactions with Chandler and how the two really seemed to have a bond that had Andrew worried about Chandler. Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading this book!
To the author - well done. I was intrigued by this book as it offered me something different than the titles I have been reading lately. The pace was slower. The author took more time to allow the story and it's characters to develop, letting us savor the journey as we read. And the flashbacks were into a time from my past I remember well.
Maddux develops this intriguing story by following the lives of several characters. We meet the main character - Andrew Foster - in current times where his life has not turned out the way he had hoped. Then we are introduced to those in his circle both past and present. As I read, I felt I had truly met each of them and through these characters, was slowly drawn in to the intrigue of their past and for some, what was motivating their actions in current time.
Hints arise that perhaps Andrew's difficulties are related to his karma working out some hidden unworthy actions in his past. Slowly over the course of the book, the story of his past is unfolded for us through well-timed flashbacks. It's never an easy task to run 2 parallel storylines - past and present - yet the author handled it seamlessly. I found myself often anxiously anticipating the next look back to get another piece of the puzzle.
The end of the story when it came, was the perfect conclusion. I'm looking forward to reading more books by this talented author.
Boy on the Beach is Difficult to Put Down. While this novel isn't an action-packed, psychological thriller--it will draw the reader into Andrew's story page by page. Readers won't find a violent, terrifying story--although there is a bit of violence and a mounting fear as the book moves along. Instead, readers will discover Andrew's past, page by page, and piece together the puzzle creating his current life events. While I pieced together the underlying mystery fairly early in the novel--I still found myself drawn to every page as the author pulled me into Andrew's life story.
I love a novel with a life story. There were times that Boy on the Beach felt almost memoir-like as we visited moments from the past and followed the main character as he put together the pieces of his past and came to terms with the cause and effect factors throughout his life--leading to the present story. I didn't like Andrew much at the beginning of the novel--but, that changed as he revealed himself and grew as a character. There is a much deeper story than one of revenge and betrayal--and it is one that the author develops realistically. Would I recommend Boy on the Beach? If you love a psychological thriller focused more on human nature and character discovery and redemption with less violence--this is a wonderful novel. Even if you suspect that you have solved the "mystery"--there are still enough surprises, revelations and character development to keep you turning the pages through to the end. I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more from this author.
I received a copy of the book from the author. All opinions are my own.