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Alex Paperback – July 15, 2011
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Intriguing twists keep the reader poised at every page. ALEX will appeal to a variety of readers from lovers of traditional mysteries to suspense lovers with its ominous, supernatural feel and even beyond these genres as moments of tenderness and fear move the reader's heart. Dianne Hartsock truly leaves the reader guessing, never quite sure of the murderer's identity as terrifying details are mixed with horrifying visions . The complicated psychological battle within Alex's mind keeps you wondering if he will find his sanity or be lost to it. The writer keeps the pages turning with eager anticipation until the very end.
We learn through Alex's nightmarish flashbacks that he was kept in his room and tortured by his mother for most of his childhood. This enables him to "see" things that people normally do not see, things that may have happened in the past or the future, as he struggles to hold onto reality in the unpredictable present. He overcomes the classic internal conflict of Man vs. Himself as he understands more about his gifts and tries to resolve them alongside the conflicts that surround him.
I felt sympathy for Alex right away: He is the underdog, embodying the bumps and bruises and tears we shed in childhood, burned into memory, and magnified a million times. I felt myself cheering for Alex, wanting him to win every struggle and overcome all his obstacles.
The raw humanity seen through Alex's eyes kept all my senses actively involved, and made this a real page-turner. The feel of skin and hair, bones and nails, warm and cold, are both beautiful and horrific. Visions of light and shadow are both heartening and frightening. Sounds of love and murder are both soothing and disturbing. Hartsock's prose is simple yet effective in describing the action in the novel; eliciting fear, keeping me on-edge, and haunting me for days after reading. However, overall, I am left with a new definition of what love is: an emotion that can endure through life and death. Love isn't over-romanticized as something that will conquer all, but love makes life worth living.
I am totally torn on how many `stars' to give this book. It was engaging. The book was well written. The topic is right on queue for me. Psychics, paranormal, serial killer... It was really a fun read. But, I felt really disconnected to it. I wanted this to be a deep connection, one that would cause me to run to the book and turn pages with heated ambition. But, I found myself reading the book to escape life and because... I felt I had to.
I was fascinated with the flashbacks in Alex's life. I would love to have learned more about how he came to Jane's house, their family interactions growing up, etc. Coming from an abusive past, I felt that the author did a wonderful job portraying the lifestyle of abuse (That's a queer statement to write. Because abuse is not wonderful at all!). I guess I am saying that I have read other abusive based books and had triggers throughout it. The way Dianne had written the scenes were pretty well done.
Negatives (I am trying to stay somewhat vague as to not ruin it if someone decides to read it):
1. It took FOREVER to get to the end. I really wanted to know about his psychic abilities. I wanted to know when he started getting them. I wanted to know more about his mental hospital stay. I wanted to know about ALEX.. it is the title of the book. I was disappointed when the end didn't really cover much.
2. This has got to be THE MOST unlucky person on the planet. Alex has had kidnappings (not one, but multiple), abuse, cuts, knifes, guns, all kind of crazy things happen to him.... and most if it happens in a couple month time span. I just makes it kind of hard to believe. He has so many enemies, and I get why, but I think the story could have flowed a little better with only one major enemy after him. I felt it was somewhat confusing when the author added the police officer into the mix.
3. The relationship between Jane and Alex disturbed me. I felt very much like Creg did.... why didn't she just adopt him instead of marrying him. To me, it was almost like instead of a mom kissing his wounded knee, she had sex with him. I got the unbridled passion between the two, especially growing up together. I just didn't understand why every time something bad happened, they shagged. A relationship is more than just sex. Which made it another reason it was kind of hard to believe, or get into.
4. Helen. Who the heck was this character. She physically assaults Alex. Yells at him that she remembers who he was. Goes on some tirade about the mental hospital...... and she's a psychic too. If there was a deeper psychic connection, she should have really been written into the book more, or had Alex's mental hospital stay exposed more.
This wasn't the greatest book, but it was creative. It was mid-line for me. It was a book I thought sounded interesting, but if it was not for the review required for it, I probably would have put it down and picked it up to finish it when I ran out of things to read. I do not want the author to think I am slamming her book. It truly is well written. It was just long and hard to really "bite" into it.
If I had to do a star system, 3 1/2 stars.
Most recent customer reviews
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Diane Hartsock submitted her book Alex for a Dual Review, and it did not come with a warning label.Read more
Alex Elson is a twenty year old orphan, his mother died in a house fire after she fell asleep with a cigarette in her hand.Read more
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