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A R Pickett has commented on (12) products.

Stress Fractures by J. E. Seymour
Stress Fractures

A R Pickett, November 29, 2014

In this second book in the series, Seymour continues with her protagonist Kevin Markinson, although it might be more accurate to say that she backs up a step to relate the circumstances which brought him to where we met him in the first book in the series, LEAD POISONING, published in 2010.
The action in Seymour’s story focuses on three characters: Markinson himself: twelve year old Danny Rutledge who stumbles on Markinson’s hiding place; and the federal marshal called to the scene of Markinson’s prison escape. Not much of the action in the book involves the various law enforcement agencies, Seymour uses them primarily to provide insight into Markinson’s past and expand the reader’s understanding of him, why he tried a prison break; why he attempts to keep Danny safe; and why he lives his life torn between his criminal associations and the family life he still treasures and yearns to get back to.
As this book opens, Markinson is on the run, injured, losing blood, cold, alone, and trying hard to keep his panic and fear at bay. Danny finds him seeking some shelter from the elements in a culvert near a stretch of railroad track.
Danny has been the constant target of a group of school yard bullies. Dreaming of the day when he will be a cop or a spy, and an automatic recipient of respect and cooperation from his peers, Danny has often sought solitude in the culvert and furnished it with blankets and water.
Forming a tentative partnership, the two take advantage of Danny's mother's absence and return to Danny's home, with rudimentary plans to evade law enforcement already seeking Kevin. Their plans are upended when a small gang of hoodlums breaks in, looking for who knows what, and quickly escalate the tension by threatening both Markinson and Danny.
Eventually a large law enforcement contingent surrounds the house and the threatening situation explodes into violence. Officers on the scene are able to secure Danny’s safety; and Markinson manages to elude capture and contacts one of his criminal associates for a change of clothing, medical attention, a brief reunion with his family, and temporary safety.
But the federal marshal in charge of the situation has more plans which will threaten Danny’s freedom and Markinson must think through a set of alternatives �" none of which are completely fool proof.
Kevin Markinson is an appealing character, in spite of his connections to criminal elements. It’s clear he cares for his wife and sons. Readers who were intrigued by the events in the first book of this series will enjoy learning about what came before.
The publisher notes that a third book in the series is under way, and a collection of short stories in eBook form featuring Kevin Markinson �" Blackbird and Other Stories is also available.
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Shards by Ismet Prcic

A R Pickett, January 1, 2013

A remarkable achievement of both voice and tone. The shifting and blending perspectives of the narrator and the "shadow character" of Mustafa kept this reader slightly off her comfort zone and deeply engrossed.

Author Prcic's first language is not English, which makes his accomplishment even more remarkable. Not only the best book I read in 2012, but it joined the short list of best overall books I have assembled since 1998.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Searching for Tamsen Donner (American Lives) by Gabrielle Burton
Searching for Tamsen Donner (American Lives)

A R Pickett, January 2, 2011

One of the best books I've read in a very long time. A very engrossing combination of personal memoir, travelogue, adventure story, and history. Author Burton has a life long fascination with Donner, who was the wife of the leader of the Donner party, stranded in the High Sierras on their way to California. She combines the story of her own personal goal to maintain a life for herself as a writer, while raising five children.
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Lead Poisoning
Lead Poisoning

A R Pickett, December 2, 2010

Enjoyable debut novel follows the life of a career criminal, working in the lower levels of a Manhattan crime organization. When he intervenes in a tense situation, and discovers he has made a misstep, he leaves New York to find his estranged wife living with their two sons in New Hampshire. The family tentatively begins to build a unified life, but the reader remains aware of developments which will threaten their collective futures.
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Searching for Tamsen Donner (American Lives) by Gabrielle Burton
Searching for Tamsen Donner (American Lives)

A R Pickett, November 30, 2010

I heard about the author Gabrielle Burton in a discussion on National Public Radio, and something about the tone of the comments sent me in search of this book. It took a little doing - eventually I got a copy through Inter Library Loan. It is a real shame that the book was hard to find, because it's one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had in a very long time. She skillfully combines a biography of Tamsen Donner with a memoir of her own experience raising a family and her determination to keep a place in her life for her own identity as a writer. Along the way she throws in an entertaining "road story" of her family's retracing the path of the Donner party, and for good measure adds a dollop of a classic American adventure tale of the expansion of the West. Not many authors can combine themes so skillfully.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

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