Great Narrator, Not So Great Suspense
I recently purchased this book because my local bookstore was having an amazing sale on summer reads and this one has a stellar blurb from Stephen King. I should've paid attention to the fact that the blurb was for the author's entire body of work and not just this one book.
Not that this is a bad book by any stretch. But it falls short of being great. Here's what I loved about the book: the narrator and the careful attention to setting. The settings, both in Montana and in New England, are vivid and rich without being overly descriptive. Every scene in the story felt fully realized with sensory detail and enough scene blocking to let me see the story in my head.
I also loved the narrator's voice. He's not your typical jock. Or, maybe he is (He lives for football and struggles with grades) but he was so well developed that I *understood* why he lived for football (his only option out of a deadend life of poverty in a tiny town) and I *felt* his struggle to understand things he read. Seeing the story through this narrator's eyes made for a lovely journey.
Unfortunately, what didn't work for me as much was the plot itself. The set up to the mystery is perfect. But once we get to New England and the search itself, it begins to slow down. The suspense didn't feel consistent, the red herrings were obvious, and I felt let down by the ending. It felt rushed and pretty convenient.
Maybe I just wanted too much. I was expecting an edge of my seat thrill ride of suspense where every plot twist would leave me looking over my shoulder, afraid the bad guy would come after me next, and I didn't get that. However, this is a good book, and I did enjoy the read. Even though I didn't love it as much as I thought I might, I think readers just dipping their toes into the suspense waters might find this a fabulous story to cut their teeth on.
This book was insanely slow. Nothing really happened until almost a 1/3 of the way through the book. In addition, I didn't find any of the characters likeable at all. I wanted to smack Cody upside his head throughout the vast majority of the book and Clea wasn't much better. The only redeeming quality was that the writing was fairly good.
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
Reader reviewed by ReggieWrites
I picked up Reality Check because of the blurb. I found it to be extremely appealing--expecially for those who love mystery and suspense.
From the moment I read the first chapter, I was certain that Abrahams
was no stranger to action and suspense. He was able to keep me on the
edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I finished the book in less
than two hours. The way it was written, and the way it was executed,
was absorbing and eloquent. I was hooked.
Reality Check is not a book for those who like a happy and energetic read. Reality Check is a dark book; full of dilemma and mystery. Abrahams did a great job in character development--Cody especially. He was a compelling and relatable character. His problems were realistic. Abrahams
wasn't afraid to show how the other (less-than-middle class) half of
the world, lives. Additionally, a lot of the decisions that were made
by the characters, and situations that they found themselves in, were
controversial. Abrahams took a risk in doing this, and he obviously succeeded.
In the book, I felt like nobody was to be trusted. Abrahams
did a great job in making sure that my assumptions were wrong. I had a
few suspicions here and there, but they ended up to be way off the real
thing. This is one of the few books that was able to keep me on my
Although Reality Check did have a lot of strong traits, it still had its weak points.
instance, I was roughly around page two-hundred when I realized that
the characters were kind of stalling. The mystery wasn't close to being
solved and I was worried because there were only about a hundred pages
left in the book. In the last sixty or so pages, I felt as though Abrahams rushed through solving the mystery. I felt as if all of those pages built up to a weak climax. I wasn't satisfied at all.
The ending of Reality Check
was flaccid. It kept me hanging but there wasn't enough that happened
AFTER the mystery was solved. My thirst for an amazing ending was not
appeased. But that's just me.
The Bottom Line: Reality Check
is worth reading and worth remembering. I really admired the
strongly-developed characters and the originality of the plot. It made
up for the not-so-great ending. Overall, I liked it. I'll remember this
one. Reality Check earned a B+. :-)