COLDWATER, by Samuel Parker, Revell/Baker Publishing Group

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Having forfeited his youth to the state prison system, Michael moved back to the only home he’d ever known. An empty shell of a man who now lived–if it could be called living–in the still vacant house of his parents in a town with one stoplight. A town that hated him. Had always hated him. And was ready to pick up where the prison system had let off.

Now he’s on the run from men who’ve tried to kill him once; but Michael is more than an ex-con. A powerful, sinister force creeps inside him, threatening and destructive. Who–and what–it will destroy next is the only real question. From the bold voice that brought readers down Purgatory Road comes a new pulse-pounding, spine-rattling tale of vengeance and justice that will have them up all night.

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Samuel Parker was born in the Michigan boondocks but was raised on a never-ending road trip through the U.S. Besides writing, he is a process junkie and the ex-guitarist for several metal bands you’ve never heard of. He lives in West Michigan with his wife and twin sons.

MY THOUGHTS:

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

I am also a supernatural thriller writer, so I examined this book from the perspective of one.

Before I begin, can we talk about the texture of this book cover and how it feels in the hands.  It’s absolutely beautiful.

Although a narrow read with strong writing that begins with an excellent hook, this book is full of engaging and gripping content often found in a longer read.  It moved along pacing well, with a heart-stopping opening scene and continued forward with compelling intrigue, action and a roller-coaster ride to its end.

Michael’s character (the Protagonist) is developed through glimpses into his dark and disturbing past. He is driven, complex and very hard to like but you may find yourself sympathizing with him at times. You are compelled to continue reading just to learn more about this twisted individual.

He has apparently, somewhere in his past although not clearly indicated where, why or how, made a bargain with the Devil and is possessed by a demon (at least I assume it is a demon, although also not clearly indicated as being so), who will not go down for the count. Although intrigued by this supernatural element, I felt it wasn’t clearly developed and wished for more information to understand this part of the Protagonist better.  By writing Michael’s unusual crux the way Parker had, it fell short of being believable.  I also found similarities (and it just could be me) between ‘Michael’ on Friday the 13th movies and the Protagonist of Parker’s book.

Killing for the sake of killing in books never sits well for me when I stumble upon this element in something I’m reading. For Coldwater,  I get why the town folks want to kill Michael, but really, why did Michael kill as a child?  What was his motive? He was jealous, psychotic… both? He doesn’t strike me as being insane.  He is driven, and he seems remorseful about what he’s done, yet that is lost on the reader with his violent acts of revenge… There is little doubt while reading that you’re dealing with the darker side of human nature involving things like vengeance, bitterness, revenge, hatred, disgust, etc., but sometimes, you may find yourself asking why?

The plot moves along well but is a bit predictable at times; however, with the plot twists you remain vested in the story. Warning: there’s a lot of violence throughout.  Pacing with this thriller was bang on as far as character development of secondary characters helping the Protagonist to achieve his goals… but were these goals really resolved in the end and in a satisfactory manner?

I have to admit that the author’s voice is compelling regardless of the above, and it will be a page turner perhaps, with you rooting for the Protagonist… who knows.  I can’t help but wonder with the story being cloaked in so much violence, anger and darkness to such a point of distraction, whether or not a reader may miss seeing elements in the story that remain unexplained and left confusing at its conclusion.  If this is the case, then I commend Parker for using such skillful tactics.  Is this vital to the success of the story?  I’m not sure.  It didn’t affect my reading of it. However, I saw these elements for what they were and they did leave me needing more substance and effectual writing resolving these issues for me to give this book five stars.

Coldwater will undoubtedly grab your attention, especially if you enjoy hard-hitting thrillers, and hold you in its grasp until the bitter end.  There is a fantastic epilogue that may help resolve some of your issues since it neatly wraps the story up in a pretty red bow. There’s lots of action scenes to make you squirm, some unscrupulous moments to make you angry and a very hidden Christian message of redemption buried somewhere in there if you look close enough.

I therefore gave this book:

4stars

 

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