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review 2020-06-04 12:31
The Moor
The Moor - John Haysom

by Sam Haysom


This story is divided in an odd way. It starts with a news clip about two missing boys. There are occasional time jumps forward, written in present tense alternating with memories, which is all rather jumpy.


When it gets to a proper chapter one, the story becomes mostly linear. There are other news clips and time jumps interspersed, but basically the story is told from the pov of five different boys involved in the camping trip that led to the boys going missing, each of them having their own section, though each one progresses the story further forward.


First is James, the overweight boy who doesn't really want to go but gives into peer pressure to be part of the group. Then Gary who has an unfortunate habit of playing sick practical jokes. He's followed by Tom, a bigger boy who defends James against his friend Gary's jokes when they get out of hand, then Tim who is a small boy, son of the responsible adult leading the group and doesn't have many friends. The sequence of events is finished up by Matt, who is the sharpest of the boys and takes us through the climax of the story, which was very well done. The details and built up suspense were definitely worthy.


Through these various points of view, we slowly learn what happened, why each of the boys took part in the camping trip, what sort of person they appear as to the others and how the two boys went missing. Some of the story gets rather horrific. I sort of guessed what had to happen in the end, though not how it would play out.


This is apparently a debut book by a young author. I think he's going to be one for the Horror enthusiasts to watch.

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text 2020-06-02 16:32
The Other Americans: A Venn Diagram
The Other Americans - Laila Lalami The Other Americans - Laila Lalami
The Moor's Account: A Novel - Laila Lalami
There There - Tommy Orange
The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri

Laila Lalami was supposed to visit our university in March; of course, the event was cancelled, as most things have been since that time. But in preparation, I read two of her novels. 


The first, "The Moor's Account" is a tour-de-force historical epic framed from the point-of-view of the slave, who gets just a line in the official sixteenth century account. I was blown away.


The second, "The Other Americans," is a contemporary family story. With blurbs from J.M. Coetzee and Viet Thanh Nguyen, Lalami needs no additional praise from me.


But let me do this: I will draw you a Venn Diagram of the mind. In the intersection of a book like Tommy Orange's "There, There," in which each chapter switches to a different character's point-of-view to tell a part of the story, and a book like Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake," which tells the story of an immigrant family's experiences building a life in the United States of our time, lives "The Other Americans." 


Of course, "The Other Americans" is its own story. And "There, There" and "The Namesake" are just two examples of many that could work in this model. But they are the ones that came to mind. It's a fun exercise. 


In the end, I recommend both of these Lalami books unreservedly. Try them. Expand your circles. 



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review 2020-05-02 14:21
High Moor
High Moor - Graeme Reynolds

By Graeme Reynolds

Wow. This was an intense story. I often say that I don't like a lot of blood and gore in stories, but for some reason it doesn't bother me in a good werewolf or vampire story. It just seems necessary. Reynolds doesn't hold back, yet the violence has been well done for believability without crossing over into the unnecessarily gross for the sake of it.


Don't read this if you're looking for romantic werewolves or have lost a child to violence. This is written for Horror fans.


I found it difficult to put down and kept neglecting other books to keep going back to it. It really did hold my attention all the way to the end. I wasn't happy about the cliff hanger at the end, but most of the loose ends were tied up enough that I'll only dock half a star for it.


One thing I really liked about the storyline is that it addresses the subject of bullying in a way that many people can appreciate from childhood, though the bad boys are worse than average. I wouldn't want to have grown up with them around. The relationships among the child characters were realistic and didn't fall into what I would see as YA, even though they did swear a lot. The interactions with adult characters just came over as perfectly natural.


It was a good story and written very well. I keep saying there are some gems in the indie realm and this is one of them. As soon as I get my breath back I'll start reading the second book!

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review 2020-04-01 16:41
Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight
Agnes Moor's Wild Knight - Alyssa Cole

I Picked Up This Book Because: Palate cleanser

The Characters:

Agens Moor:
Gareth MacAllister:

The Story:

The Random Thoughts:

The Score Card:


4 Stars
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review 2019-11-14 17:58
Southside Collection
The Hustle of Kim Foxx - Steve Bogira
Cellmates - Tori Marlan
The Waiting Room - Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve
The Gun King - John H. Richardson
Payback - Natalie Y. Moor

This is a series of 5 articles/essays about the Southside in Chicago, or to be on point crime, justice and race in Chicago.  They are by five different authors so somewhat mixed.


The Waiting Room is most likely the most moving as it deals with the presence of a jail in the neighborhood as well as the impact of jail on the lives of people.  It is more thoughtful and deep than The Gun King, which is about a young man sent to jail for dealing guns.  Gun King does raise legit questions but it needed to be a bit longer.


The profile of Kim Foxx is good and in depth.

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