Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Book Review - A LOVELY, INDECENT DEPARTURE by Steven Lee Gilbert

Publisher: Steven Lee Gilbert (March 23, 2012)
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Page Count: 282

Amazon link: 

About The Book:

Parents are charged with teaching their children right from wrong, but above all else is caring for their general welfare and when Italian immigrant Anna Miller loses her five-year old son, Oliver, in a custody dispute with his father she does the unthinkable and kidnaps him. They flee rural North Carolina for Italy and with her family’s help disappear into her native homeland. Months pass with no sign of the mother and son. The boy’s guileful and mean-spirited father, Evan Meade, turns to a private investigator when the ineffective efforts of the federal authorities working alongside the local sheriff, Monroe Rossi, fail to track them down. But even as the search draws them closer to Anna, Evan’s true nature betrays itself and the question to what’s in the child’s best interest becomes not so clear anymore.

At the center of the search for the missing boy is Sheriff Rossi, the embattled lawman, a divorced father himself whose black-and-white brand of upholding the law has lent much to his method of parenting. His frustration and obligation to both his community and his estranged family deepens the closer he comes to all of those involved, but at greater risk to his life’s work is the blurring of the line that occurs between law and justice. Stuck in the middle of this is Oliver, who battles his mother and others while trying to come to grips with this strange new world in which he has been thrust.

Objectively detailed, deftly and gracefully written in a voice that refuses to intrude on the minds of its characters, A Lovely, Indecent Departure is a literary thriller capturing in stark detail an intoxicating world in which modern archetypes are turned upside down.

Lynda's Review: 

~ She watched in the rear-view mirror as he leaned toward the window and waved and she started off down the street, satisfied then that she'd done all she could to allow for the proper parting between this father and his son. ~ Page 16

This is going to be a hard review for me. The story premise is good and delves into sensitive and complex family relationships that, all too sad, plague many modern families. The character's were fleshed out to the point that I could recognize their type, but I didn't feel personally connected to either during the reading. I think that was due to a lack of deep characterization. The narrative tells, more than shows me what's going on inside these people. In short, more fact and action than emotion.

Another factor detracted from a promising book. No quotations marks around dialogue was one huge hurdle for me. As a reader, I subconsciously depend on those little quotations marks to help me keep the narrative flowing seamlessly. Without them, it was a bumpy ride.

On the up side. The author obviously has the ability to weave an intricate plot; and that's no small talent in itself.

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