Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Strange But True by John Searles Review

Title: Strange But True: A Novel
Author: John Searles
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Page Count: 336
Book Type: Paperback (Owned)
Publisher: Harper Perennial 
ISBN: 9780060721794

From Goodreads: "After a mysterious fall from his New York City apartment, Philip Chase has moved back with his mother, Charlene, a bitter woman who has never fully accepted the death of her younger son, Ronnie, five years earlier. Numb from watching too much television, rereading a tragic biography, and trading snipes with his mother, Philip is in stasis." "But everything changes late one windy February night when Ronnie's high school girlfriend shows up on their doorstep. A sad young woman who still bears the scars of the accident that took Ronnie's life on the night of their prom, Melissa has unexpectedly found hope. She is nine months pregnant. And the father, she claims, is Ronnie." So begins this tale, which moves from one surprise to another as Philip and his mother confront not only Melissa's past but their own. Their desperate search for answers takes them on a poignant and emotional journey, ultimately placing them in the path of murder and revenge.

My Review: The cover is fairly average, I think. Nothing really special, but nothing horrible about it either. I like the top half and wish they would have kept that theme throughout rather than adding in the orangish color. If it was all in sepia tones, I think it would be more aesthetically pleasing.

This book really isn't quite like anything I normally read, which I think is a good thing. Sometimes, as readers, I feel like we get into "ruts" and read the same type of books over and over again. I like to branch out at least once a month--this month it was with Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton if you were wondering. If not, sorry. 

Seales doesn't sugar coat anything in this book and that is what I loved about it. The mystery does keep you turning the pages, but I just adored the realism of the whole situation. We are thrown into the perspectives of the different characters and we learn how each of them are dealing, or not dealing, with the unfortunate death of Ronnie. There are flashbacks throughout the novel and I just wanted to learn everything about the characters that I didn't want to stop reading. It is all about ripple effects and how everything that occurs effects something else. 

I would definitely suggest reading this one. It is thought provoking and this teenage tragedy sucked me in and kept me enthralled throughout.

Have you read this novel yet? I picked it up on the bargain table at a bookstore this winter and was very pleased.


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