Sunday, October 24, 2010

Latest Review: SOLITARY

Title: Solitary

Author: Travis Thrasher
Publisher: David C. Cook
Release: August 2010
ISBN-10: 1434764214
ISBN-13: 978-1434764218
Format: Trade Paperback

I became of fan of Travis Thrasher’s when I first read and reviewed an advance copy of The Second Thief. Hooked, I found myself anxiously awaiting the next Thrasher release, year after year. Sometimes first in line to buy a copy, and many times lucky enough to have the pleasure and privilege to receive a copy, like with Solitary, to read and review prior to, or just around the actual release date.

In the vein of John Saul, Thrasher plunges readers into the heart of teen angst, amidst haunted backwoods towns. Chris Buckley is sixteen. His parents have separated. While his father opts to remain in Illinois , Chris and his mother is return to her hometown, Solitary, North Carolina . They live in Chris’ uncle’s home. There’s plenty of room since the uncle went missing months ago.

While bullies and unseen allies taunt and tempt Chris in school, it’s against everyone’s advice that our young, new-to-school teen befriends the troubled and mysterious Jocelyn Evans. It doesn’t take Chris long to realize that, aside from falling goo-goo-gaa-gaa for her, it is Jocelyn’s secrets that threaten – if left uncovered – to destroy him.

Some unseen evil seems to hold the town hostage, paralyzed with fear, leaving everyone unable to act, react or to even prevent the inevitable. People in Solitary go missing. It’s a fact. Chris’ hunt for answers brings him nothing but trouble and threats. Not empty threats, either.

With a missing uncle, a crazy aunt, a radical church, and a mother who false short of coping with the hand she’s been dealt, it is Chris and Jocelyn against Solitary. The trouble is the town of Solitary incorporates more than just the people that live within its boundary limits. The ghosts, and monsters just might be caused by more than wisps of air, and random bumps banging in the night.

It is up to Chris to sort out the things he knows from what can be surmised to what he just hopes is can not possibly be true—or possible. It’s now a race against time and there is no mistaking that life and death actually hang in the balance. . .

Solitary, the first in a supernatural young adult series, has put me over the top. Quick, compelling chapters. Deeply drawn, well-crafted characters. Tight, gritty, noir-style dialogue – and by the end, all I want is more. So many questions raised. So much yet to be answered. And, unfortunately, too much time between future installments. If you’ve never read Travis Thrasher, which I’d find hard to believe of true fans of suspense, Solitary is an excellent place to start. Just be ready to put aside anything else that needs getting done, because once you begin reading, I believe you will have a hard time stopping until you’ve read the last page.

--Thomas Phillips, author of The Molech Prophecy and forthcoming, Sounds of Silence