My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Note: Written as part of my Amazon Vine gig
‘The Reckoning’ (Vintage Books 2015) is Book #3 in Carsten Stroud’s ‘Niceville’ trilogy, the story of a quiet southern town torn apart by murder and mayhem that can only be explained by supernatural beings. In this final chapter (read my reviews of ‘Niceville‘ and ‘Homecoming‘, the first two books in the series), what had been a thriller tinged with paranormal now is fully driven by the otherworldly actions of the hideous creatures that haunt what residents considered a safe and friendly place to raise their kids. The story is told through several point of views, almost like vignettes, tightly connected by the common plot line. With each vignette, we see another character’s part in moving the story forward to its eventual climax. My only complaint is that it often takes a long time to get back to a favorite character as Stroud weaves his devious tapestry. And he always leaves us on a cliffhanger which–predictably–keeps me reading so I can find out what happens next.
What should make even non-paranormal readers try this book is Carsten Stroud’s skill. He’s a powerful writer, with a strong, unique voice that drives the plot and the characters. He’s colorful, pithy, and likable, able to draw readers in to the character’s motivations with just a few sentences. Here are examples:
“The rain streaming down put a misty halo around all the streetlamps and hammered on the red tile roofs of the houses. The gutters were choking on leaves and muddy water.”
“…also in their trudging walk and the way they sagged into themselves as they passed by him and went on out into the sunlit streets of Niceville. Their faces were blank, expressionless, and there were no children.”
“…in hues and tints that even God had never seen coming…”
He used to apply this talent to military thrillers–six of them, all excellent. This trilogy shows his versatility as a writer.
I wonder what he’ll pen next… Mr. Stroud? Would you give us a hint?
Be aware that this book is the third and final installment of a trilogy. It is much easier understood if you’ve read the first two.
More paranormal and futuristic fiction:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.