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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Wolf: "It's never one time. If you do things right, there's a second time and a third..."
Ha! Already, I feel for tall, lean, and dark-eyed Peter, the hotshot Nevada firefighter, and for Wolf, a former felon who's "never again" going to risk his freedom for a get-rich-quick scheme. Not that $25,000 makes anyone rich for long, these days.
Wolf knows this kid: "Peter's mind constantly grazed on schemes that promised to soak up his debts, but they never caught up to his addiction," and Peter has a lot of addictions, from horse racing to "vaguely legal business ventures."
With vivid description and taut prose, Jennifer Leeper spins this tale of modern-day Westerners who'd have been more at home on the frontier, not a town called Purgatory where casinos are the main industry. The surprise twist at the end is one I did not anticipate. From the start, we can surmise that this deal won't end too well for Peter, but the real deal is so haunting, I had to set the book aside for a while. I'm on a mission right now to find happy endings, but I have to admit, this story would be a great study for a college class I once took, "American Realism and Naturalism."
One reason this author came to my attention is that she won the Tuscany Prize Novella Award in 2013 for "Padre," which later expanded into a novel, "Padre: The Narrowing Path." Having married into the Catholic faith, I pay attention to contemporary authors who write about Catholics in an era where "Christian Fiction" generally shuns Catholicism. It's just one more example of discrimination that activist groups will steadfastly ignore. (Small towns, the Midwest, Germans, the elderly, my list of "Here are Groups You're Free to Villainize or Mock" is endless.)
As of today, I still haven't read the other thirteen stories, but I wanted to get this review going. Later, as I keep reading, I'll add onto this. My Kindle is packed with so many NetGalley ARCs, Writing Workshopper's weekly subs, manuscripts from friends, and books I just plain want to read (someday!!), it may be a while before I finish reading every anthology. Mark Ayling's "Northern Futures" and Samuel Peralta's "Futures" chronicles have been in my Kindle for ages, but this one is *different* from the usual fare, with a fresh and original voice.
My one complaint about the formatting of this book is that the table of contents lists Chapters One through Fourteen, but these are separate short stories, not chapters in a book.
I would definitely read more from this author.
Now that Amazon allegedly removes reviews, do I dare offer the DISCLAIMER that the author gifted me this book in exchange for an honest review? What about Tips on writing a great review [Direct from Amazon website]:
• Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge. Reviews from the Amazon Vine™ program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary.
No author has ever paid me for a book review, nor traded reviews (I haven't published anything yet, but even if I had, I wouldn't be trading five-star reviews.) My reviews are my honest impressions, and they are not for sale.