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The Fort Paperback – June 11, 2013
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Author Sean Chercover Reviews The Fort by Aric Davis
The Fort is that rare and welcome find—a book so great you want to recommend it to strangers on the subway. From page one, you know you're in good hands. Aric Davis writes with a voice so singular, so authentic, his story becomes a separate reality—not just read, but experienced.
The endless summer of 1987 stretches out before Tim, Scott, and Luke—best friends and blood-brothers who spend their days... Read the rest of this review at www.kindlepost.com.
Davis’ growing rep as a brawny, flinty mystery writer won’t be dampened by this straightforward but impressively dogged tale of abduction and lies. Three 12-year-old boys—Tim, Scott, and Luke—are watching the summer of 1987 die from their treehouse fort when they see something incredible: a missing teen girl being pushed through the forest at gunpoint. Grabbing the rifle that Scott lifted from his stepdad, Luke shoots the gunman in the leg. They run for the cops but are discounted as liars. Davis spreads the point of view across the boys, the detective on the case, and the kidnapper himself—a rattled Vietnam vet killing girls in search of a replacement for his long-lost sister. To clear their names, the boys determine to solve the mystery for themselves, and their brave investigation plugs into dark Bradburian nostalgia, complete with sneaking out of bedroom windows, secret codes, and the kind of blood-brother friendship that only exists before the capricious twists of manhood. Few surprises await here, but that’s okay—Davis makes the hard, fast journey a destination in itself.
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Top customer reviews
This is one of those strange books that borders on adult and young adult fiction. It feels like a YA novel because it tells the story from the point of view of three twelve year old boys, but there is a lot of adult content and violence that would in no way make this an appropriate read for a middle-schooler.
The Fort was an easy fast read, and truly a page turner. It illuminates how difficult it is to be a pre-teen and be taken seriously by adults, and I think many can relate to the feeling that the police department is not always so helpful when you need them. It's the type of book where the reader knows everything that's going on and you just want to scream out to the characters, "oh there he is, catch the bad guy already!"
I enjoyed the suspense and could relate to most of the characters-except the bad guy-he was just crazy, but who doesn't love crazy. Great read.
The the three boys, Tim, Scott and Luke are well drawn portraits and they will walk proudly beside those characters who have gone before them like the kids from Stephen King's novel IT and the recent movie "Super 8". King refers to kids awareness that they exist in a world below "the line", above the line being the "reality" of adult life and the inability of adults to see the evil children see below the line.
I love that the three boys all knew they had a responsibility to act despite the failure of the adults in their life. Their desire to be heroes along with their awareness that they were just kids with limited life experience rang true. This book is not for kids, but those of us who remember the freedom of summer and the darkness of the world that awaits us all.
Unlike with the characters in this story, Aric Davis has no problem revealing the murderer/kidnapper to the reader early on. The moments with the killer were unsurprisingly the most disturbing; he's a rapist suffering from PTSD caused by his time in Vietnam. Molly's struggle for survival is heartbreaking and captor is terrifying. He is terrifying because he's delusional and because a part of him knows he's delusional and he acts on his impulses anyway.
Tim, Scott and Luke are realistically written. They might be kids who witnessed something terrible, but they're still kids. They aren't super-sleuths even though they've taken it upon themselves to find out who took Molly. They aren't going to the scene of the crime and pulling up clues, they're using a child's common sense. A creepy man will live in a creepy house. He's injured so he won't maintain his house: look of the creepy house with the un-mowed lawn... And as they try to narrow down their list of suspect, they begin to learn a secret about growing up. They begin to learn that even adults don't have all the answers.
My only complaint with this story, is that the police scenes are slow and foolish. At first it was little things about the way they spoke; Detective Van Endel greeting Molly Peterson's mom with a "my pleasure" like a missing child is no big deal and later advising her to take a Valium like his night job is pharmacology. But then it spans out to his use of a psychologist who doesn't appear to offer opinions on actual psychology but instead on "feelings". And when he interviews the three boys, he asked them what Molly was wearing...Only to tell them what Molly's mother said she was wearing. Even in the eighties, any detective worth anything would still have to worry about something like a false or fed testimony... Disbelieving the kids is one matter, telling them to tell you what you want to hear is another matter entirely.
I think this book would have been better if Davis had put a little research and a lot more effort into police and profiler procedures, but even without that effort the book was still pretty good. It was slow to start but hard to put down once the mystery got in full swing.