I read “A Matter of Survival” yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The novel continuously reminded me of what I loved about your previous tale starring “Morgan Nightwing.”
Setting: Again, I loved the novel’s setting and again felt I was experiencing a thrilling vacation in Southern Louisiana. I liked the way you mixed the good with the bad in your descriptions, “It’s a warm afternoon, the perfume of honeysuckle is cloying, and we share the presence of dark, sweaty circles under our arms with the other twenty-eight kids on the bus. Deodorant isn’t an option in South Louisiana.” I felt I was in the scene. Your descriptions also seemed to mirror the advantages and disadvantages of living in Southern Louisiana and the stark differences between area’s good souls and bad souls. Each scene from the car rides, to the cage, to the water tank, to the house fire and boat ride were vividly described without slowing down the action.
Point of View: I loved seeing the world and developing plot through Callie’s eyes. Slipping into Callie’s thoughts between her conversations and predicaments, an advantage of first person narrative, made me feel like I was secretly reading a teenage girl’s diary.
Characters: Your heroine, Callie, was well-developed, as were your other primary characters, Jeanne, Bobby, and Tony. I always knew their motives, their mettle, and liked guessing their future actions and reactions. Callie, like Morgan, is an attractive, emotional, quick-witted, immature teenage girl with limited resources, suddenly thrust in an impossible situation, suddenly discovering herself in way over her head. Fortunately, she is also, kind, intelligent, and possess the ability to reach down and tap that inner strength found in all good souls, the strength to fight evil, to rise high above your circumstances. I also liked how you foreshadowed her future actions with thoughts like, “I want my revenge for Sandra.” “As for me, I’m plotting my revenge.” I also easily identified with Jeanne the parent, and Bobby the sometimes hormone-driven and anger-driven boy.
Theme: Loved the Good vs. Evil theme. Your good guys were really good and your bad guys really bad. Callie, Jeanne, and Bobby were all willing to instantly risk their lives for others. Tony, Snake, and Ear were willing to risk nothing for nothing. I like the difficult decisions made by the heroes and the simple decisions made by the villains. The good guys were conflicted but driven by, “What’s the right thing to do?” The bad guys were unusually cruel and driven by, “How can I cover my tracks?” I loved rooting for the good, loved wishing ill on the intentionally ignorant.
Plot: The plot-driven tale was a fun ride, never slow, or overly predictable. I guessed one of the good guys, and most of the bad guys, would die. However, no clues as to who, how, or when added to the suspense. The adversity was introduced early in the story and slowly built until 1502-11, Burning The House Down, when the plot went into hyperdrive. One exciting scene quickly followed by another: Bobby crashing through the window to take Snake off the roof. Callie’s mind frantically racing ahead to save her mother, save Bobby, while standing on the edge of a burning house, judging the right moment to jump and catch a willow tree’s beckoning branch. (My palms are still sweating) Callie’s frantic race to catch Tony and her mom.
The plot’s climax, the one-way ride on Ryan’s Lady, was most exciting. I thought it was well thought-out, well written, and perfectly placed. Your knowledge of boats, ships, and channels shined. I felt every moment of the ride, saw Callie falling into the water, heard to boat crashing into the wall. Well done!
Epilogue: Like after any good story, I was left wanting more, and the epilogue promised just that. Along with Aftermath and Changing Loyalties, the epilogue tied up loose ends, pointed toward healing, introduced new characters, and hinted at future relationships between Callie, Morgan, and Noel. I immediately found myself looking forward to the next adventure.
Thanks for writing a great tale!!!
A Matter for Survival may be obtained in Kindle format from Amazon.com. Please remember, you do not need a Kindle in order to read this book. You will find many free emulators to use on your computer listed on this website. Enjoy the economy of an ebook without a Kindle.