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Drummer Boy: A Supernatural Thriller Kindle Edition
|Length: 305 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Scott Nicholson does many things brilliantly well, IMO. He engages the senses religiously, immersing you in his tale. His characters, mostly male, are believable with all of their neuroses and sexual oddities, enough so that I laughed out loud dozens of times. His writing is often poetic and remarkable, even while describing simple things. His setting is believable, whether it's about the trailer park where the boys live, or the Appalachian mountains. And there is a theme and message here, which I greatly prefer in a novel; the author is telling a story first and foremost, but he's also saying something in the end.
When I give a book four stars, it means I loved it, but I thought there were some areas where it could've been even better. I thought the beginning of the book was excellent; it built a great deal of mystery around believable characters in situations that made me laugh. I thought the middle dragged a bit, but Nicholson's excellent writing still carried it; once the basic mystery of the story was known, it felt like I was waiting too much for the climax through the middle section.
I thought the end was mixed in that it was great in some respects, but flawed in others; it was exciting and really made me turn the pages, but I found the grand finale less believable than all the rest of his tale, and the final wrap-up felt too short. The mixed ending keeps it from being a five-star book for me. For example, I would've liked to have seen the tension between the fathers brought to more of a conclusion, and perhaps something more impacting regarding the female photographer. However, the major characters, the boys Vernon Ray and Bobby, were dealt a powerful resolution.
I have no significant interest in the Civil War per se, but I really enjoyed the Civil War ghost angle in the story, and I thought the historical info centering around Kirk's Raiders was handled particularly well, since it was based on historical events without ever feeling pedantic.
I've heard from multiple sources that Scott's book, The Red Church, is also very good. I'm looking forward to reading that one next. I know that it's set in the same area, and has one of the same characters, Sheriff Littlefield.
I think DRUMMER BOY gives us a southern ghost story to savor and laugh with, and an author whose rich and creative prose is its own reward.
Drummer Boy is another page turner (or "page clicker", if you have a Kindle reader.) It reminded me a little of The Red Church, not just because some of the characters (Sheriff Littlefield) reappear, but because it depicts the still fragile psyche of adolescent boys, their insecurities, their struggle with love and friendship, and their fear of "not belonging," in a society where you are either "in or "out," "straight" or "gay," "good" or "evil." Interestingly enough, the young boys are more willing and brave enough than the adults to be true to themselves, not matter what the sacrifice.
Having spent my school years abroad for the most part, I am not as intimately familiar with the American Civil War as people who grew up in this country. What came across to me personally from the story was the fact that for many people in the South, the Civil War was never truly resolved. And so, the shadows in the form of ghostly soldiers keep on haunting them. That's true of any war, whether here or abroad. What we're not willing to deal with, will come back to torment us in one form or the other.
There is of course a lot more to the book. Find out for yourself!