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Continental Drift (California Fiction) Paperback – October 6, 1996

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


"From its opening pages, Continental Drift reverberates with unspoken overtones and haunting atmosphere. Very soon it crackles with characters: vivid, engagingly fallible, captured by a sharp camera eye that records surface essences, then moves to lay bare the places where we all live, the caverns of the mind beyond. . . . Sounding throughout is the half-heard rumble of the crustal plates, North American and Pacific, colliding and coupling underground like a pair of violent lovers." -- Ted Berkman, Los Angeles Times Book Review

About the Author

James D. Houston is the author of six novels, two collections of short stories, and several nonfiction works including, with Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, Farewell to Manzanar. A resident of Santa Cruz, he has received numerous writing awards.

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Product Details

  • Series: California Fiction
  • Paperback: 337 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (October 6, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520207130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520207134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,774,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I admit I expected more from this author, especially after reading his excellent book about the Donner party, _The Snow Mountain Passage_.
The story unfolds around Monterey Bay, California on a ranch inland on the San Andreas faultline. The owner of the ranch, Monty, lives quiely with his wife in a nice home with large acreage, renting out another home to an artist. The story opens with the return of their youngest son from the Vietnam war. Not sure what to expect, they anticipate his arrival with a house party and even welcome the unexpected girlfriend on his arm when they pick him up at the airport.
It becomes blatantly obvious that the son has changed. His behavior is bizarre and unpredictable. Not only do his parents fret about the returning Vietnam vet, but his older brother does as well.
His return coincides with a series of shocking murdurs in the area, and with some analysis it appears the murdurer is closely in the vicinity of the ranch and is actually burying his victims on the fault line.
In panic, the parents fear the worse when the girlfriend turns up murdered and they are unable to locate their son. Monty especially feels the chill of this heinous crime as he was freshly intimate with this woman in the field the evening prior to her death.
Unfortunately, the relationship of Monty and his wife is contaminated by Monty himself as he falls victim to his sexual urges and violates himself and the vows of his marriage. The murder investigation takes a fevered pitch and Monty plots out on a map that they are at risk as the murderer is apparantly following a clear path along the fault line and they are right on it.
The mystery is fairly predictable, but since the author is of high standing in his other books, I would recommend this one, although it is clearly not one of his best.
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