This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
Fourteen year-old Kevin and his mother have come to live with his grandfather in Kentucky for the summer to try to heal after the tragic death of his three year-old brother.
"Pops" is a veterinarian in the small coal-mining town of Medgar, deep in the Appalachians.
His grandfather is wise and compassionate and soon Kevin is helping him with his rounds, getting acquainted with the area and making friends.
It soon becomes apparent the town is split between those who support the coal baron who provides jobs and economic activity and those opposed because of the environmental degradation caused by the new technique of blowing the tops off mountains to get at the coal rather then sink shafts and extracting it.
The tension mounts and culminates in the murder of a popular opponent to the mining. It's a complicated situation for a fourteen year-old and it tests his courage and his integrity.
Christopher Scotton has done a good job on describing the lifestyle of rural Kentucky as well as damage to the environment of this new type of mountain top removal mining.
Though the dialogue sounds authentic the characterization of many of his major characters is clichéd.
The novel seems to lack intensity and I found myself skimming pages to get to some meaningful action. Finally when it happens I found the motivation and unfolding of events went beyond this readers suspension of disbelief.
Then, when the story appears to be about to end naturally Scotton for some reason feels compelled to let the reader know how it all works out for everyone in the future.
Endings are difficult but in this case Scotten would have been better leaving the future to the reader's imagination.