Tag Archive | Travel Fiction

Six Seconds

by Rick Mofina

Finally, a benefit to an asthma attack followed by a round of insomnia inducing steroids – another book finished in a matter of days.  Healing brain is coming back online!  This was another bonus gift from the bookshelves of our newly purchased, fully furnished home.  “Six Seconds” by Rick Mofina became my constant companion while I laid awake trying to relearn how to breathe.  I loved this book.  twitter

I don’t know the previous home’s owners but this one intrigued me because as seen on the cover, it was not for sale and contained advance uncorrected proofs.  The final edition may be different than the story I am reviewing, but I was thoroughly captivated by the plot and characters. Written @2008, I also was intrigued by the behind the scenes glimpses into capturing terrorists as our world is now so entrenched with dangers from all corners.  If you’ve watched a ‘reality’ cooking show, and then been impressed that we ever get a table full of hot meals delivered simultaneously at a restaurant, that’s kind of what it felt like to see the inner workings of agencies on the task of protecting an international figure ripe for terrorist anger.  Yet, we see within our own 24 hour news cycles how quickly a terror cell is discovered when, from a distance, it seems highly unlikely perpetrators will be caught.

There are several main characters in “Six Seconds” which, in this case, helped move the story along and kept me interested.  From the Canadian Mountie detective, to the grieving American mother to the radicalized British mom who was central to the terrorist plot, I felt connected to each for very personal reasons.  Mofina writes in a way that he brings out the human-side of suffering, living with our own failed choices and acting out of desperation with seemingly little choice but to cope.  This is a skill few authors possess but which really work to bring “Six Seconds” from locations throughout the world, into my own brain.

This is a fast paced story which occurs in multiple locations including Iraq, California, Montana and includes enough detail that you can’t coast through while you read.  That was good, because I appreciate having to put some effort into a book without it feeling like effort.  One of the greatest compliments I can give an author is that while reading the story, I don’t want to step away from it.  This book was exactly that for me.  It didn’t matter which character was being featured in the current chapter I was reading; when I had to stop for sleep (very little) or life (a lot), I didn’t want to put it down.

Next step is to find more of Mr. Mofina’s writings and stock up.

I started a travel book journey across the US and, although this book takes place in many locations, I’m classifying it as Montana fiction since much of the story, and culmination, centers on that state.

 

 

Book #1 – The Night Swimmer

by Matt Bondurant

I recently watched the movie Lawless andThe Night Swimmer was intrigued by the story, and the fact it was written by the grandson of one of the bootlegging main characters.  I decided to check out his work but didn’t want to read The Wettest County in the World which inspired Lawless.  Luckily his third novel was recently published and seemed interesting.

This is my first review, and I imagine the only rule to be no spoilers.  So, what prophetic words can I share without giving away the specific things which caused my opinion?  Not much.  I started this book and was immediately consumed by the idea (American couple winning an Irish pub), the main character and her voice (she has a genetic “abnormality” which allows her to tolerate cold and make open water swims) and the concept of starting anew in a place so different from the known.

Bondurant is a master of prose.  Despite not loving poetry, I found myself really pausing to soak up the descriptive language.  He creates characters who are compelling, and although not a swimmer or traveler to foreign destinations, I was mesmerized by both.  Every time main character Elly enters the water the reader can’t help but feel as though they are swimming beside her.

Unfortunately, about halfway through the book, I realized Bondurant was losing me.  What had begun as an exciting opportunity for a loving married couple, quickly turned into two people pushing each other away.  The times they were together in a scene was uncomfortable.  How quickly what we imagine to be what we want the most ends up destroying what we already enjoyed.

Despite reading every word in the book, and having a college degree, the last few chapters were hard to understand.  When the book ended I was lost.  Not wanting to appear ignorant in this first review, I perused the world wide web seeking enlightenment about the ending.  Turns out Sparknotes.com hasn’t covered this book yet.  I felt vindicated in my confusion when I discovered site after site with people also seeking an explanation of the ending.

Numerous reviews on Amazon.com were pretty divided into two camps.  Those of us who had no clue what happened and felt the author just wanted to end the book; and the second camp who criticized those of us who were confused and suggested we need to be spoon fed the facts as in a Sherlock Holmes novel.  Hmmmm.  Perhaps one day I will take this one of the shelf and re-read to see if I “get” it the second time.  Perhaps not.