Thursday, October 23, 2008

In the Lonely Fen -- reviewer Lee Pletzers

In the Lonely Fen
Richard Moore

PublishAmerica
ISBN: 1-59129-962-4
6x9, 216 pages
US$19.95


An
extremely well written page turner of a book. Although I usually review
only horror books, this title requires attention. Richard Moore has
spun an intriguing story from a perspective I’ve never experienced.

There are a host of characters in this book, but the focus is on four. Three of the main characters
are staying at Amaranth House, a group home for those released from the State run facility for
the mentally unbalanced. It’s a place where they can be monitored and cared for while trying to
learn basic living skills and responsibility.

The three main characters are:

1)
Alan. He hears voices and since they told him to stop taking his
meds, the voices have increased both in volume and number.

2) Henry has trouble understanding people and is more than addicted to cigarettes. He’ll do almost anything for a smoke.

3)
Keith. The center attraction of this book. He has authority issues,
doesn’t believe he should still be here in this group house. He wants
to be independent. He has a habit of linking actors and directors to
movies, at one time, going several levels deep and also harbors an
inferiority complex.

Let’s not forget, Chris, the local drug
dealer. And although he is not mentioned until about quarter of the way
through the book, and even then only in a passing manner (he becomes
more central later on), he is the focal point of the ending.

Here’s a brief run down of the story as I saw it:

Keith
has met a nice girl at the local video store, Jo, she’s cute and works
behind the counter. Keith thinks he is in love, but then he falls in
love with most girls on sight. This is New Years Eve, and she phones
him an hour or so later asking if he wants to hang out. Hell yeah, but
he has to wait for the night watchmen to fall asleep, which they do
every night, luckily enough.

He meets her and they go to her
place. They drink a little, Jo snorts White Snake (cocaine or an
alternative?) and Keith looses his virginity. What he doesn’t know is
that Jo is married to the local drug dealer, a very unstable man.

One
night Henry hears Jo tell of a goldmine for his tobacco addiction.
Usually Henry searches the streets after dark in the hunt for cigarette
butts and adds then to a secret stockpile he has.

This
goldmine just so happens to be at the back of Jo’s house. Chris and his
friends never throw away their butts, there are coffee jars filled with
Henry’s treasure. This is an opportunity he can’t resist.

The
voices in Alan’s head are more demanding than ever and he has an urgent
need to visit his parents believing a hug from his mother will fix all
his problems, but he can’t accept the fact that his parents don’t want
anything to do with their crazy son. And so he leaves when the watchmen
are asleep, fighting voices in his head and a direction he is uncertain
of.

Barry, a seller of Chris’ drugs at the local high school,
spots Jo and Keith walk into the community home for the loonies. He’s
just had a large fight with Chris (constant teasing always reaches a
breaking point sooner or later) and in a spiteful act, he tells Chris
what he saw. But he over stepped the line and gets his head blown off.

Things
have stacked up against Chris lately. First off, he can’t get his
member up to please his wife, Jo, so she finds it elsewhere. Second,
the bike dealer is going to repossess his loved Harley. Third, there’s
a half naked black man rummaging through his trash and fourth, he
suspects his best friend of screwing his wife. Add to this the huge
amount of drugs and beer he consumes and it’s enough to drive anyone
over the edge.

This is the start of the end, a violent rampage
with heads, brains and kneecaps blown apart. A very realistic ending to
the book, follows.

That’s the basic outline I got after reading it.

Richard
Moore’s writing style is easy to read and easy on the eyes. It is
extremely follow-able and not once did I get lost. It starts at a brisk
pace and builds up to a neck breaking speed for the violent climax.

Moore is very knowledgeable in this area and explains ‘meds’ in layman’s terms -- like a shopping list actually.

Overall
the book is a fantastic read, it does require a tad more editing, some
parts were overly wordy and a few (not many) paragraphs need to be
reworked to sound better, the reader will barely notice this unless
they are looking for it.

There are a few flashbacks, usually
I have found these to distract a story flow, like a feeble attempt to
slow it down, but NOT in this book. Each flashback draws the reader
deeper and deeper into the plot and the lives of the characters, which
are all in living 3D color. You will care about the characters in this
book.



Overall readability: 4.5 / 5

Over all rating out of five: 4.3

Content, action, description: 4.5

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