If you live long enough, you have the opportunity to reflect on your choices. If you are fortunate these choices are made deliberately, by conscious wIf you live long enough, you have the opportunity to reflect on your choices. If you are fortunate these choices are made deliberately, by conscious will, or not so by the shear movement of life — the propulsion of events that are beyond your control.
Patterson Wells is a man defined by a single event of which he had no choice — the death of his young son, Justin. Unable to cope, though he tries through a journal he keeps with touching, heartfelt letters to his son, he propels himself through the life with risk and recklessness.
Patterson works a dangerous job in disaster recovery, clearing away debris from fires, floods, tornadoes and all forms of natural disaster, and working along side men just as reckless and dangerous as the work he consumes. Long days, sleepless nights, allows Patterson to push away the pain, and what pain remains he dulls with booze, drugs, and the occasional bar fight.
While Cry Father primarily focuses on Patterson, Wells is not the only broken soul fighting against past sins and regrets. Through Patterson we meet Henry, a former rodeo rider in his twilight, and Henry’s son Junior, who runs drugs to Colorado for the Cartel and hates his father. Then there is Patterson’s ex-wife, Laney, who still love him and wants him to face Justin’s death, to mourn with her and live life again. Unwittingly, her well meaning attempts to help Patterson let go only pushes him away and into the company of Junior.
From the first chapter, Benjamin Whitmer establishes a teetering balance of violence and humanity that sets the mood and expectation for the rest of the novel. Cry Father, like Whitmer’s freshman novel Pike, is a brutal examination of man’s capability for self-destruction swaddled in the hope of redemption. Do men like Patterson Wells ever find hope? Do they deserve it?
This story of fathers — of choices, and of mistakes — connects deeply with me as a father and as a son. I’d like to believe there is hope for making up for past mistakes, but the reality is sometimes there isn’t ever time enough. We just move forward until we no longer do.
While I shamble into my future, I hope it is filled with more Benjamin Whitmer....more
Rector delivers another solid quick paced thriller that keeps the reader turning pages.
OUT OF THE BLACK sat on my TBR pile for a couple weeks when I wRector delivers another solid quick paced thriller that keeps the reader turning pages.
OUT OF THE BLACK sat on my TBR pile for a couple weeks when I was looking for read to take with me on a recent business trip which would leave me in limbo for about 3 hours during travel. I figured, I'd read parts on each flight, and finish up while holed up in my hotel room. I hit the end before the wheels hit the tarmac. I could not flip pages fast enough.
Rector introduces us to Matt Caine, a Gulf War vet who recently lost his wife in a car accident that also injured he and his daughter. The recovery has left him broke, unable to find a job, and owing money to the wrong people with no good way to become flush again. Desperation leads Matt to a bad plan from an old friend. In true fashion, Rector and his protagonist discover there is something lower than the bottom of the barrel, as Matt is beaten down both physically and mentally.
What depths will a man go for his family? OUT OF THE BLACK has you turning pages to find out. ...more
I had toyed with reading Mystic River before, since watching the adaptation by Clint Eastwood staring Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins. It was aI had toyed with reading Mystic River before, since watching the adaptation by Clint Eastwood staring Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins. It was a wonderful movie, well acted, the characters full and vivid on the screen. A compelling story and I’ve enjoyed it many times over. And that’s the crux of why until now, I haven’t read Mystic River. I’d already seen and enjoyed the movie. I wasn’t even sure what kind of writer Lehane was.
Then I read Shutter Island and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I may never write a “review” about Shutter Island, but it left an indelible mark. I had to try more. I’m glad I did.
Set in East Buckingham along the shore of the Mystic River, Lehane tells the story of three unlikely childhood friends: Jimmy, Sean and Dave who are torn apart as children and then again reunited as adults by tragedy.