Sunday, April 22, 2018

Trouble at Timber Ski Lodge by Max Elliot Anderson

Trouble at Timber Ski Lodge. Max Elliot Anderson. TBCN, Inc. Copyright January 2018. pb. 136 pp.; ISBN: 97809384417191. TWEENS Reading - Ages 8-13.  

Sean Baxter is the number one enemy to his 12-year-old brother Eric.  The remarkable dynamic between these two brothers is that Sean never gets caught making trouble, a fact that frustrates Eric more and more with each passing day.  Now, however, the brothers are distracted by an exciting event that comes to the town in the mountains where their ski lodge is located. 

Before that discovery, Eric has to put up with his neighbor’s son, Vince, who runs another ski lodge, one that has all the latest gadgets and luxury items that make that lodge highly successful and profitable.  Vince, who really needs a friend, is constantly bugging Eric and putting down their lodge, which his father and grandfather manage, barely getting by because of lack of funds.

Now, an exciting event comes to their area.  Some thieves have stolen gold and are carrying it in a stolen airplane.  Given the fact that the area around these lodges are high in the mountains, most of the residents know that a plane will never make it through the mountains.  Finally, it will be Eric and Vince who put aside their mutual dislike and jealousy to solve the mystery of the missing gold and thieves. 

Max Anderson’s characters are strong, courageous yet full of humor and excitement, something for a young reader to truly enjoy!

The story is exciting and is guaranteed to thrill those who love adventurous stories, especially mysteries!

Swimming Between World by Elaine Orr

Swimming Between Worlds. Elaine Orr.  Penguin Publishing Group. Copyright 2018. pb. 416 pp.; ISBN: 9780698406384. 

Tacker is an engineering student who graduated and went to work with a notable engineering firm in Nigeria, Africa.  A man who fully embraces every thing he did and does, he wound up being fired and sent back to America.  His fault?  Getting too close to the native Nigerians, embracing their culture, innocently embracing religious and other rituals, and supposedly consorting in a physical relationship with a Nigerian.  Shades of Jim Crow extending its tentacles overseas.  Tacker comes back to his home town, embarrassed, confused and even angry about his failed career.  His family really don’t know what happened but stand by Tacker and eventually offer him management of the family’s small grocery store in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

While working, Tacker meets Kate Monroe, a gal is who recovering from the death of her parents and who then discovers the momentous secret of her parents’ marriage that shocks her to bits.  The trauma is so deep and harsh that she is not sure she can ever trust anyone again, and that includes Tacker who seems to have his own secrets.

The plot picks up with the entrance of an African-American, Gaines Townson.  He is accepted to work at the grocery store where he does his best to work hard and remain unnoticed.  But Gaines is part of the new wage of rebellion, willing to risk arrest and even death for trying to break the Jim Crow laws.  Tacker actually accompanies him on one of these potentially volatile scenes in which Gaines dares to sit at a whites-only luncheon counter.  On and on these scenarios progress with eventual success but also accompanied by violence and death.

How to these characters develop?  One could call this a coming-of-age novel but the characters are only coming of age with the recognition and ownership of vital truths about humans and how they treat each other.  It’s all about love, hate, loyalty and betrayal.  It’s an American historical novel which leaves as many questions as answers in the reader’s mind.

Highly recommended historical fiction!

A Perfect Shot: A Novel by Robin Yocum

A Perfect Shot: A Novel. Robin Yocum. Prometheus Books. April 2018. 336 pp. ISBN: 9781633884175.

Nicholas “Duke” Ducheski is famous for his basketball performance in the small town of Mingo Junction, Ohio.  He thought his amazing skill shown in the state championship game would win him scholarships galore in colleges but that wasn’t the case.  Still he is the shining star of this steel mining town forever, but he doesn’t want to live on past laurels.  So he sets out to do something he can call successful.  At first he is forced to work in the mines but then decides to start his own restaurant, “Duke’s Place.”

Duke marries but it’s not a good union at all.  Add to his unhappiness is the fact that at age forty, after he first opens up his restaurant, his hoodlum brother-in-law, “Little Tony” DeMarco, shows up and thinks he’s going to get a piece of the pie as part of the local Mafia.  Everyone with any brains at all is mortally frightened of Tony, whose only talents lie in knowing how to beat victims to a pulp or murder them if they don’t cooperate with the local “muscle.”

Now one might say it’s easier to cough up some money to find peace and protection, but Duke isn’t made of that stuff.  All he wants is to run his business, do well, and eventually get a divorce from his wife who refuses to comply with his requests.  Life is beginning to get truly miserable to Duke.  But the reader will be surprised by the plan Duke devises to rid himself of the prevailing “thorns” in his flesh and business.
No spoilers here.  Suffice to say that most Mafioso stories are quite predictable; this isn’t one of them.  Stay with the reading as the action picks up and justice is served in the most astonishing manner.  Duke will pay a price but it’s not one any reader can predict.

Nicely crafted crime thriller – definitely plotted as a “perfect shot!”