Bury My Heart at Redtree
Title: Bury My Heart at Redtree
Author: Patrick Chalfant
Patrick Chalfant weaves a tale that is a mixture of psychological suspense, Native American mysticism and revenge in his sophomore novel Bury My Heart at Redtree. Redtree follows Taylor, a promising young psychology student as he builds his masters thesis around the revenge he has planned for those who are responsible for his parent's death.
Taylor is aided in his vigilante justice by his friends Elijah and Keith and hunted by the local authorities, detectives Stan Jennings and Carol Parker of the State Bureau of Investigations. With a cast of a characters that also includes a na´ve, yet insightful girlfriend, a mystical and manipulative Native American chief and a business man with shady dealings that could put Kenneth Lay to shame, Bury my Heart at Redtree is entertaining, suspenseful and exciting, albeit a little predictable and underdeveloped.
Chalfant's use of Freudian psychology as a plot device is original and ingenious as Taylor uses his criminal spree as a means to prove his thesis regarding Freud's idea of the id, ego and superego. Also, the opening sequence of Redtree, a daring and bloody convenience store hit, is one of the best opening sequences of a novel I have ever read. And I must say Gayland, the resident wealthy business man and all out bad guy is a well written and deliciously evil, villain. You love to hate him and hope and pray that he gets what he deserves.
Redtree manages to be fresh and engaging in a genre that can easily be stale and unoriginal and that is all do to Chalfant's masterful storytelling and innovative use of the old themes of revenge and redemption.
However, Redtree does have some problems, the biggest of which is Chalfant's lack of character development. With so many characters you don't expect to be up close and personal with everyone but the main characters, particularly Taylor and Jennings should feel like close friends, or at the very least people you'd care about if something happened to them and that closeness just isn't there.
Chalfant doesn't offer much in the way of motivation or understanding for their behavior or their thoughts, so as a reader you don't have much stake in what happens to them good or bad. He does a great job at portraying Gayland as a corrupt and soulless man but lacks the same depth with the rest of the characters and that lack of depth ultimately hurts the story he's trying to tell.
Also the novel gets a little too preachy, as the subplot about a high profile drug case becomes the springboard for a rant on the criminal justice system and how with enough money and the right attorneys one can get away with anything. It is fine to feel passionate about a topic but not too many people like to be preached to and after awhile the rants about the justice system just felt like a combination of whining and preaching.
Despite these criticisms Bury My Heart at Redtree is worth your time and money. It's a good and fast read and while the surprise ending isn't really a surprise you'll still find it satisfying and fulfilling.
Tamika Johnson is a freelance writer and owner of PrologueReviews.com. To read more reviews by Tamika or to have your book, movie or film reviewed visit www.prologuereviews.com">http://www.prologuereviews.com
Denis Johnson, the award-winning fiction writer, poet, and playwright whose best-known and most influential work, the story collection Jesus' Son, turned 25 this year, has died. He was 67. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.
Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.
The author of more than four dozen books, Mrs. Fritz was known in particular for her biographies of many of the signal figures of 18th- and 19th-century American history.
America's libraries got a major boost this week on Capitol Hill as a group of leading publishing, information, software, and other businesses unveiled an organized effort to advocate for federal library funding. The move comes in response to the Trump administration's proposal to eliminate virtually all federal library funding, and the agency that distributes those funds to all 50 states.
Margarita Engle has been named the Young People's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Awarded every two years, the $25,000 laureate title is given to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. The laureate advises the Poetry Foundation on matters relating to young people's literature.
Suite Française, adapted from the bestselling book by Irene Nemirovsky will premiere on the Lifetime network May 22.
Represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, Book Passage--with stores in Corte Madera, Sausalito and San Francisco, Calif.--and co-owner Bill Petrocelli have filed suit against a state law that, the plaintiffs say, "will make it extremely risky, if not impossible, for stores to sell autographed books or host author events."
Petrocelli said that the law's "expensive mandates--with voluminous reporting requirements and draconian penalties--create a nightmare for independent booksellers that thrive on author events and book signings. Consumers will also suffer. The tradition of author events at bookstores, with opportunities for direct interaction between writers and readers, will be shattered. The cost of record-keeping and major liability threaten to make book signings impossible, and stores such as mine do not want to engage in the massive intrusion on customer privacy that is mandated by the law's reporting rules."
Several publishers and authors organizations have officially joined the many book world people criticizing Amazon's new policy allowing third-party booksellers to "bid" for the primary spot in buy buttons.
A statement from the Authors Guild called the move "deeply disturbing" and said it "has the potential to decimate authors' and publishers' earnings from many books, especially backlist books." It noted, too, that the policy might be connected with Amazon's desire to force publishers to use its print-on-demand services, if POD availability will essentially guarantee a top spot on buy buttons. Such an arrangement, the Guild wrote, "looks an awful lot like a 'tying' arrangement under the antitrust law."
The statement concluded: "Amazon has already done enough damage in the book industry. It has devalued books by setting the price and consumer expectations for e-books and hard copy books artificially low, even taking a loss to do so. And it extracts an unreasonable fee from the sale of any book through its site, as compared to the services it provides, and charges extra for things it calls 'marketing services,' such as making a book discoverable on its site. Amazon gets away with this because it has monopoly and monopsony power over the retail book industry. Without a fair and open publishing marketplace, publishers will soon lose the ability to invest in the books that advance our knowledge and culture."
A new program from Amazon is drawing a range of reactions from those across the publishing industry, from fear to downright anger. The e-tailer has started allowing third-party book re-sellers to "win" buy buttons on book pages. The program, publishers, agents, and authors allege, is discouraging customers from buying new books, negatively affecting sales and revenue.
Once every 10 years Granta issues a special issue focused on new American fiction, "showcasing the young novelists deemed to be the best of their generation--writers of remarkable achievement and promise, still in their twenties and thirties."
It's Best of Young American Novelists of 2017 list includes "21 outstanding writers who capture the preoccupations of modern America." The authors are: Jesse Ball, Halle Butler, Emma Cline, Joshua Cohen, Mark Doten, Jen George, Rachel B Glaser, Lauren Groff, Yaa Gyasi, Garth Risk Hallberg, Greg Jackson, Sana Krasikov, Catherine Lacey, Ben Lerner, Karan Mahajan, Anthony Marra, Dinaw Mengestu, Ottessa Moshfegh, Chinelo Okparanta, Esmé Weijun Wang, and Claire Vaye Watkins.
Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, died yesterday at age 88.
First published in 1974 by William Morrow, the book was a spectacularly popular philosophy book that was loosely autobiographical, tracing a father-son motorcycle trip and flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Its thesis was that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought. Pirsig called this system of thought the Metaphysics of Quality.