Review Detail

Young Adult Indie 933
Grady Harp - San Franciso Review of Books
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Plot/Story 
 
5.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0
Before I start this review, I do want to let you all know that this book is trigger heavy. The triggers are bullying, casual drug use, physical violence, online bullying, underage drinking, and the planning/execution of a school shooting in Texas. The Kilwade Tragedy isn’t a book for everyone, but it is a book that needs to be read. So, read with these triggers in mind.

I am not going to lie. The Kilwade Tragedy was a tough book to read. There were points where I wanted to put the book down.

The Kilwade Tragedy explores the events that led Blaze to do what he did. And what is revealed is frightening.

As a mother of school-age children, The Kilwade Tragedy struck a nerve with me. I am uneasy about sending my kids to school. Even though I know that their schools have upgraded their security measures. But the security measures don’t extend to recess, school trips or sporting events. So, yes, what happened at the end of the book chilled me. Reading that was my worst nightmare.
Good Points
Texas author Terry Keys has published eight novels - MAXIMUM GUILT, GAMES OF GUILT, CHAINED GUILT, an anthology THE MURDER FILES, DEATH TOTAL RISING, THE MISSING, LIE NO MORE, MAXIMUM GUILT, and now THE KILWADE TRAGEDY. Terry is also a songwriter, and poet. He has experience working in law enforcement and corrections, and as a project manager in the oil and gas industry. He also writes for Examiner.com. He lives in Dickinson, Texas

As an additive effect for this terrifying story, the author offers his insights about schools and violence in general: 'One day very soon I hope that our lawmakers and parents become outraged enough to make swift and drastic changes in regards to addressing mass school shootings and how we parent/raise our children. Talk is cheap and everyone has been talking too long - we need action. No politics, no hidden agendas, no lobbyists - action...' And with this degree of intensity this exceptional story about violence, substance abuse, suicide, mass school shootings et al opens.

Terry's grasp of the suspense/thriller/mystery genre grows with each new novel he writes. His prose is pungent, immersing, and as straight-ahead propelled as his subject matter demands. In his magnetizing Prologue we are given a hint of the terror ahead - 'Let me just start off by saying that no kid is ever born thinking, one day I'm going to kill myself. If you would have told me six months ago that I was going to kill myself, I would have called you crazy. Only kids dealing with deep mental imbalances do stuff like that - right. Only crazy kids? But here we are... Sure, I could go on and live another sixty years here, you'll just hurt me more. I know I'm worthless, so why should I drag this out any longer...?'

The author offers the following excellent synopsis - 'Seventeen-year-old Blaze Planter is a Jr. at Kilwade, High School. His parents have recently divorced. His grades are slipping. His anger is growing with each day. Relationships with his closest friends are failing. Secrets about his life are being uncovered. No one understands what he is going through. And everyone who has betrayed him needs to be taught a lesson. So now he stands with the one friend that has never betrayed him. The one friend that does what he asks every time he squeezes the trigger. The only friend that he can depend on. Tragedies don't just happen. The signs are simply overlooked every day until it's too late.'

Sadly, Terry's novel is punishingly timely with all of the violent events so razor sharp at present. This is a novel to read not only because it is fine prose, but it also suggests a flaw in our society...Terry Keys is taking his place in the lineup of important authors of today.
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