Sunday, August 18, 2013
The Banks of Certain Rivers, Jon Harrison ~ book review
** I received an electronic copy of this book to facilitate my review. This free copy has in no way influenced my review or my thoughts of the book. **
The Banks of Certain Rivers is Jon Harrison's first novel. You'd never know it.
Or maybe you would.
Maybe you would because it's so fresh, honest and seemingly real. Maybe it's the fact that he's not yet jaded or anything like that that makes this book so perfect a read? I don't know. That's probably a foolish thing to say. But either way, Jon Harrison's first novel has made me a fan. Left me hoping that we'll hear more from him soon.
We start off with some disturbing scenes that really stick with you. They stick with you throughout the read. And often whether you're reading or not. Scarily enough - even while watching the news - because immediately after I read much of this book something happened in the news that was similar to what happened to Neil's wife.
And that scared the heck out of me.
Which goes to show how real the writing is in this story.
Neil K (his name is long and somewhat confusing so even his fellow characters refer to him with the "K" to represent it) loses his wife. Not in the traditional sense of the word. I don't want to give you more details because I went into this read without any and I preferred it that way.
But if you don't read the way I do and you want more details before you purchase your copy you can click over and obtain the first chapter or so of the book.
Sample chapter of The Banks of Certain Rivers
Anyway, we meet Neil and his son Chris, and we sink into their relationship.
Scratching the surface, they appear to be strong. They appear to have a connection, as father and son, that has surpassed the difficulties their family has faced. They pulled themselves up and across the surface and maintained their family core, even without Wendy (wife and mother).
But things happen.
Things rock their center. Shatter their core.
Neil has been moving on, but Chris does not know. His world seems to be broken open when he does finally find out.
Neil has also been involved in an incident that is blowing up across the internet. Blowing up beyond fathomable understanding, when he, himself, has no recollection of it happening. Certainly not to the extent that he can see when watching the clips of himself on Youtube. Yes. Youtube. It sounds funny even to me as I type it. But this book is submerged in technology. And I like that. I like how it feels real that way. Incorporating today's virtual world into a book (an eBook, at that) about a man and his teenage son. It works. It's a great flow.
The fringe characters aren't truly fringe. They start off that way but become a part of the story. A part of the whole. Lauren, Neil's new love. But is it love? Is it sex? Is it just someone to turn to? Stay tuned ... Friends and neighbors. Even Wendy's mother. Wendy's mother is being taken care of by Lauren. There's connection across the board. We like them. We believe them.
Jon Harrison walks us through Neil's history along side his present.
We like Neil, we want to believe him. Believe IN him. We like Chris, too, and feel for the boy.
All in all, this book contains characters we enjoy, a storyline we can connect with and writing that makes it flow so well you don't want it to end. Or you certainly won't want to put it down.
So don't. Pick up yourself a copy. Seriously. You'll enjoy it. I actually think it's kind of perfect fall reading. Give yourself a bit of a mystery with the meat of a family novel. You'll thank me. I'm sure of it.
** Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book to facilitate my review. I loved the book. Nobody paid me to review it or paid me to say that. **