I liked the book a lot. I don't think of it really as horror though. More suspense . Well written and very detailed. The twist at the end was a big surprise. Found the afterward to be helpful in clearing up any questions. In reading you find yourself wondering what is the crazy Sev going to do next. I would recommend this book for sure
A clever, fun, fast-paced book that was tough to put down. The complex representation of Smith's "heinous adversary" added depth to an already interesting storyline. If you love detail, you will love this book- Kirk's background in science and medicine was evident throughout. I recommend this book and will be looking forward to The Redivivus Trilogy
I want to first thank Dr. Withrow for the opportunity to read and now review his book, "Four."
It was an enjoyable and quick read that was a story, a puzzle and a mystery rolled into about 130 pages.
As I am a writer of a dozen or so non-fiction "How To" guides ("How To Use The Digital Camera You Just Bought" is the current one), I am always a bit in awe of anyone who can craft a story with fleshed-out characters from thin air! The author did this well.
But first, a caution: Do NOT read this from back to front to "get an idea of what it is about." There are also no spoilers in this review, so please continue.
The main character is a battle-hardened veteran of our wars in the Middle East. He is now living a secluded life with a service-related disability. Through back-tracking we learn that his solitary, almost accidental anti-social lifestyle began with a simple birth defect.
Muscles in his tongue made it difficult to speak clearly, and the merciless taunting of his schoolmates only ceased when a growth spurt made him much bigger and stronger than the others, and his "short fuse" temperament taught several in school what happens when he is angered.
Refusing an operation, he trains himself to speak well, and his iron will and natural tendency to never be too close with others (combined with his physical prowess) is a perfect fit for dangerous assignments in the Marines. He finds comfort in the routine of the military and especially in the idea that his comrades never require anyone to bare his soul. They are a close-knit group, but not too close on a one to one level.
This is all developed in the book much more elegantly than my condensation, and the path from the schoolboy taunts to his current mindset rings true.
But a combat injury abruptly removes him from the life he has learned to deal with and he finds himself on some inherited rural property somewhere in the southern United States. He is a loner, making friends only with another recluse who shares a beer and a joint on occasion and doesn't ask questions.
But things begin to go wrong. He sees the ghost of his grandfather in the old inherited house. He vividly imagines tearing up and causing harm at a Department of Transportation office when the bureaucratic system gets to him.
Encounters with others go very bad, even if the threats he perceives are imagined. What is going wrong with him? Is he going insane? Post-traumatic stress? Exposure to chemicals in the Middle East? Something in the joints he smoked?
Interspersed with this narrative are what appear to be flashbacks of a military operation. Are these insights as to events that shaped the main character? You'll have to read the book to find out.
A have a couple of humble suggestions that (in my opinion) would make the book even better.
When I first got into radio, I was told to always "remember your audience." This is true in so many other areas, including writing.
There are a few pages that contain "three-dollar words" when a 25 cent word would do. Even though I consider myself fairly literate, they hit my reading experience like a speed bump on a highway. There were words I simply never saw before.
Some are obviously medical terms and are no doubt accurate, but for the average reader they represent ??? moments. Hint to ALL writers: Have someone outside of close family and friends go through the book with a red pen. I had a Franciscan Sister do it to my book and it really helped!
That's the only reason "Four" gets four stars. It is a very good depiction of what goes on inside the head of someone who is dealing with something very, very strange that they cannot understand. The fact that you feel badly for the main character is an accomplishment that trumps a few rough spots. And you fear for some of the other characters as well!
The book is not for children, as it contains violence and adult situations and language.
A must read ! The way he explains the book at the end gives u an insight of the brilliant mind of the author. Very impressed I will b looking forward to any other titles from him. I would highly recommend every one buy and read threnody. You will not b disappointed