Wednesday, July 1, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: "A Force Of Nature" by Daniel McEwen

Part ghost story, part treasure hunt, part romance, A Force of Nature is all entertainment!! Do you believe in Fate? Would you recognize it if it was happening to you? Then you'll want to meet Toronto PR guru Claire Chandler. She grew up convinced greatness awaited her. Why else had she survived a series of bizarre childhood tragedies? Yet she doesn't see what's coming when she journeys north on a long weekend in August to Bay Harbour, a post-card pretty tourist town on the edge of Canada's popular Georgian Bay vacationlands. She thinks she's there to reconnect with a former mentor. But Chandler's chilling affinity for the "unnatural and unexplained", a macabre "gift" that once made her a freak of nature to classmates, will make her a force of Nature. Shadowed by a ghostly white wolf and haunted by the victims of a long-dead killer, she'll discover a startling new ending to a fifty year-old mystery. She'll also discover romance with Tom Katz, an affable, treasure-hunting bush pilot with a reputation for living up to his name. They're an unlikely pair and Chandler thinks it's just a summer fling. Instead, a series of white-knuckle adventures will bring them to a time, a place and a choice that will forever link their lives. A debut novel by a practised writer, A Force of Nature puts a "crisp, intelligent and engaging" spin on the mystery genre.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

On the surface, this sounded like a great novel. I thought it was going to be a bit of Poe's "The Gold Bug" mixed with King's Bag Of Bones. In many ways, it was. There's horror, mystery and intrigue that really keeps you guessing, and this would have been a great paranormal mystery, but the romance that the author added in seemed to steer it in the wrong direction, and made this seem more like women's fiction with some macabre scenes thrown in for good measure.
Claire is a good lead character. She seems average, like she could be your neighbor, but for her "gifts". I liked her, and I liked the way she dealt with the issues that arose from her "gifts".
Tom is a good character as well, very rounded and passionate about his profession. Also very average, but likable in his normality.
What made this novel fall a bit is that the genres mix too much. I didn't mind Claire and Tom being involved, but the romantic moments in the story did not add to the narrative, but instead they made it seem like it switched genres every few chapters. I couldn't even try to categorize it. There should have been less romance and more of the macabre. Mr. McEwen is a very talented writer, and I think he has a great future in fiction...he just needs to decide what genre he prefers to write.

3/5--I will read future novels from this author!

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