Every so often here on Bookworm for Kids, I present a book which is intended for all of those moms and dads out there. Because moms and dads love to read too! Today's book is a mystery with lots of thrilling moments and isn't one that parents have to hide under their beds.
Boy on the Beach
by R.D. Maddux
Ezekiel 12 Publications
March 11, 2017
Adult Mystery / Thriller
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There are implied sex scenes but no graphic descriptions of lovemaking. There is one scene with some violence.)
Andrew Foster, a real estate developer in San Diego, is a man suddenly haunted by his past. Memories, like specters from his former life of sex, drugs and rock and roll have come crashing into his current world of business in this sunny coastal city. The ominous, repeated appearance of a black SUV at the beach where he meets his sister each week, has triggered fears that it’s payback time for a bad choice he made years ago.
To add to his frustrations, his hopes of a big breakthrough in the San Diego real estate market haven’t come to pass. He’s starting to wonder if his visions of success will ever come true when an investor offers to finance his dream project. Soon things start to fall into place for Andrew in business, life, and even love. He starts dating the beautiful and business-savvy Nicole but even with her at his side he can’t seem to shake the ghosts of his past. As the relationship with Nicole deepens, Andrew opens up to her about the many loves and adventures that have taken him from the crazy days of living in Big Sur and Joshua Tree to business success in San Diego. Her wise insights help him face the character flaws that have caused him to fail in his past relationships.
Rounding out his social life is his once-a-week task of assisting his sister with her nanny job watching a young boy named Chandler. They build sand castles on the beach and enjoy the beauty of nature together. But the now ominous weekly appearance of a strange car at the beach has awakened Andrew’s fears. Is the boy in danger? Or worse, has an enemy from Andrew’s past come seeking revenge and now Chandler’s caught in the middle?
A strange twist of events threatens to destroy Andrew’s dreams, but as he searches for answers, a sudden revelation offers hope of a future he never imagined.
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The past returns to threaten a man's dreams in a thrilling mystery which dives into some basic questions surrounding life, dreams and consequences.
Andrew is past his mid-fifties and still hopes to find success with his business, although his life up to that point hasn't been extremely blessed in many areas. While assisting is sister with weekly excursions to the beach to play with a boy she nannies, he discovers he or the boy are under constant surveillance. The rest of his life, though, seems to be looking up as a hoped for job appears to be coming through and he finally dates a woman with which he's making a deep connection. But things are about to take an unexpected and unpleasant turn.
This is a mystery with many deep, personal layers. Andrew is a character with a rough past. His memories of the past bring out his selfish and reckless side, while the 'current' him has matured. However, he does not regret his earlier decisions and actions. Although this visitation with Andrew during both time periods allows the reader to gain a very good look into his character, his personality is hard to warm up to. Even later in the book, his tale is intriguing enough to make it hard to put the read down, but it's hard to say he's likable. And as a character, this kept him a little at bay.
Time as well as points of view change from chapter to chapter. While most of the concentration stays with Andrew and his past or present, other characters fall in to help deepen the plot at the right moments. Each chapter begins with the name of the person and the date (whether future or past), helping to keep it clear what is happening and when. It's important to pay attention to these chapter headings, so as not to grow confused.
Andrew has a lot to learn in these pages, while a multi-layered mystery unfolds around him. The side characters not only assist in disclosing the intrigue and reasons behind the mystery, but assist Andrew along is journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately, these characters miss a bit of depth which could have enriched them as well as the rest of the story.
As to the mystery, the secrets are hidden enough to keep the truth hidden until a very unexpected ending. While the first chapter begins with action pure, the following pages slow down and allow the background, personalities and hidden webs to unfold. Toward the end, the pacing picks up again and leaves the reader with an ending which is hard to see coming but wraps up things nicely.
And here he is...
R.D. Maddux has story telling in his blood. Since he was young he’s always loved a good tale. He’s been writing seriously since he was in high school and college. His novels range from Mystery and Intrigue to Sci-fi/fantasy. With Boy On The Beach he’s set the story in modern America, to be exact, on the West Coast of California. He’s a native of the golden state and has been a resident of San Diego since 1987. Before that he grew up in northern California and lived in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area with sojourns in some of the beautiful parts of our state.
Living in California for over 60 years he couldn't help but watch the way things have changed in our culture and the impact this coast makes on the rest of America and the world. So even though Boy On The Beach is fiction, like most serious novels, it is not without a context and comment on issues we all face in our changing world. It takes place in real locations that are very familiar to him and its characters, which are fictional, no doubt have their counterparts in the real world. Boy On The Beach is a story of intrigue, suspense, revenge, love and redemption with flashbacks to the era when sex, drugs and rock and roll set our culture on it's inevitable journey to our present day. This idea has been rattling around in his heart and mind for a decade and it's finally coming to the page.
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