- File Size: 1275 KB
- Print Length: 326 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Small Things Press; 1 edition (December 6, 2012)
- Publication Date: December 6, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AJDNBTA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,392,129 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Small Things Kindle Edition
|Length: 326 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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There are a lot of good things going on in this story. Mr. DeRouen has an excellent grasp of everything teenager-from language to situational awareness and problem solving – he knows what he’s talking about. At least, he was able to convince me that he knew what he was talking about. The starring characters Shawn and Jenny are typical teenagers that, in the face of several horrifying situations, make decisions and act in ways far from typical, and that’s exciting.
I read, primarily, for the pure enjoyment of the story, and I did enjoy this story. But I also believe and look for one element of storytelling that must always...always, be a part of the tale; verisimilitude, the semblance of realism, must be present throughout. Credibility applies to all aspects of the story; from plot to characterization to dialog...everything must have the feel of reality. I had that sense through most of the book. The single anomaly was in the characterization of Sheriff Ruskin. On the one hand, he was very cliché…the tragic loss of family, drinker, but a good man, etc. Okay. But he often came across as utterly incompetent, beyond the impairment of drinking would typically allow. Several of his decisions in working the case seemed to me to be so off-base that they appeared to be written in solely to extend the story…can’t be solving everything too soon, right?
So, I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t write off the story. In fact, I highly recommend “Small Things” to all fans of horror fiction.
We meet the cast of characters at the funeral for a teenaged boy, Tanner. As we experience the grieving process for this young man by friends and family, we learn from his sister that his death was at the hands of something not of this world. Tanner's best friend, Shawn Spencer, already suspicious, begins searching for clues into the death of his friend.
Small Things is set in a small town in Illinois, far enough back in time that TV shows like Love Boat and music from the late 70's take us to another era in our history. A time when we were not bombarded with paranormal creatures, high speed technology, and life moved at a slower pace. This is the perfect foil for the frenetic moments in the book, where your heart will pound and you will lose track of time.
Joe DeRouen has done a remarkable job in weaving words and imagery that take us on a time-travelling, lip gnawing journey, where we find both fear and tenderness on a hot summers eve. Other reviewers have likened his writing to Dean Koontz and Stephen King - I would whole-heartedly agree. Mr. DeRouen is definitely an author to watch... and read!
In the opening chapter, there was the occasional entirely riveting prose.
"And there it was again. The hairs on the back of his neck prickled, and the flash of something dark, something that shouldn't be there, opposite Tanner's coffin and across the hall, outside the heavy w0oden doors that hung open exposing the church to the rest of the world."
I was surprised to find that this book had one of the best opening chapters, bar none, that I have ever read. Ever. Think suspense. Not terror... yet, though my heart beat hard as I began chapter two.
In the beginning, this story MOVES. A page-turner is a lovely thing, and this book was for me... up to a point. The characters are generally quite likable, and realistic. Much of the dialogue is natural (though sometimes the thoughts/dialogue of the teens seems more appropriate to persons in their 20s: "If he wanted to be with her, and he realized just then that he did, he had to trust and protect her, and make sure that whatever horror he and Tanner had inadvertently brought into their lives could wreak no more havoc than it had already wrought." Seriously, no fifteen year old boy thinks in those terms--happily, the overly-sophisticated dialogue, or thoughts shared in prose, was only periodic).
The book defied genre in the sense that the protagonist was a teenager, but then later in the book the author switches POVs between teens and adults (as well as the monster and a supernatural being). I don't feel that this book is merely a "fantasy" genre book and I admit that YA meets Noir detective novel, with adult themes and sexual peccadilloes, did not work at all for me. By the 55% mark, the book was no longer a page-turner for me.
A fetch is the word for a person's body self (we also have a Soul, or higher self and a personality/talking self). Wikipedia/Feri-Tradition explains it best: "The self often called "the Fetch" is primal and subconscious, being the source of dreams, desires, and drives both instinctual and physical. The name derives from the fetch of Irish folklore." I found use of the word fetch, for the monster, distracting.
A few minor typos, one in a sentence opening a chapter, do not interfere with the read.
I did like the epilogue though it didn't feel like it belonged to Shawn's YA fantasy story, given that it was the resolution for the former sheriff--Fred Ruskin.
The book has heart and the characters are fairly well-drawn. I felt emotion during the read, which the author elicited through their prose and characterization. That is a gift.
The enjoyment of a book, like the perspective of any art form, is terribly subjective. You might LOVE this book, or at least like it more than I did. The author certainly has a ton of rave reviews--maybe you will enjoy the read more. So, try a Kindle sample or use the look inside this book feature. There are definitely far worse books out there and the author is a good writer. Happy reading~*
Top international reviews
I approached this read tentatively. It's been meany years since I've read a horror novel, although I used to read them all the time. I loved the early Stephen Kings, such as Christine, and Cujo. I needn't have worried. Once I'd read a couple of pages, it was like I'd put on a pair of old comfortable slippers.
Joe has a charming style of writing, which drew me in immediately...sorry, did I say drew? No, it grabbed me by the neck, changed the comfortable slippers for a pair of running shoes, and took me on a breakneck journey of such intensity I haven't read in years.
I found myself instantly drawn to the two main characters, Shawn and Jenny, and the young love developing between them. The plot twists are masterfully carried out, and he does a great job of showing, not telling along the way, as a lot of the details are left up to you to sit and wonder. And I did; even when not reading I found myself going over the tid-bits of history he sprinkles throughout the book.
While this is the first in a series, I'd say this book is strong enough to stand by itself. I will, of course, be reading the others. This guy is just too good a writer not to.
The dialogue flows well and the main characters are believable. Descriptive whilst leaving enough for imagination, and well described action (motorbike for one) and, as I say, twists and turns show the writers attention to detail.
There were a few misplaced words, but having said that, they did not really detract from the overall enjoyment of the story so I don’t see them as negatives.
So what are the negatives?
I would not say they are really negatives and strongly suggest this is a good read, but I would have liked a little more of the loose ends tied off. I know this is a series, but for me there were a few too many unexplained parts left hanging, the number of which should have been reduced. I can guess at them, which is good, but would have preferred to know a little more. I would also have liked to see the resulting scene/s of what the police really made of it all. It seemed to end too quickly.
The rest of the story is nothing but positive. Go buy it!
I ended up not being able to put the novel down and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters a bit more and finding out where it was all going. The author really made me feel like I knew the characters and made me empathise with each and every one of them.
The decision to set the novel in 1975 actually worked for me, since that was pretty much my era too and I could relate well to the two main characters.
Great novel and I am really looking forward to reading the next one.
Winding history, religion and the heartbreaking grief from losing those we love into this story, DeRouen has created a monster tale that sucks you in with no intention of spitting you out soon.
I'm delighted to hear there's a sequel, because I'll definitely be reading that next.