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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review - At The End Of The Road

My neighbor Ken is back with another book review for us.  This time we look at a psychological thriller that has been described as creepy.  Let's see what Ken thought of it.

Author:  Grant Jenkins

Copyright:  Nov 2011; Berkley; 300 pages

Sensuality:  Violence, Language, May be disturbing to some readers
Mystery sub-genre:  Psychological Thriller

Main Character:  Kyle Edwards, a 10-year-old boy 

Setting:  Summer of 1976, rural North Georgia

Obtained book through:  Publisher for an honest review

Kyle Edwards is joyously riding his bicycle on a dusty, red dirt road named Eden Road.  Daddy and Mama had intended for the family to live a good life here, just like the Garden of Eden.  Only a few things scared Kyle, like the neighboring bullies, and Buddy the bull that lived in the pasture by the cornfield.  His two older brothers were caught up in their own world as teenagers do, and Kyle was more and less saddled with his younger sister, Grace.

Then the 1972 powder blue Chevy Chevelle SS comes speeding around the curve.  Kyle knows he is about to die.  The car, driven by Melodie Godwin, swerves, barely missing him, and rolls.  She emerges bloodied, gruesomely injured, yet mobile.  Melodie, a stranger to Kyle, pleads for his help.  Totally scared out of his wits, Kyle high-tails it for home instead.  He just knows she’s following him.  Hours later, he returns to the crash scene and discovers both the driver and car have disappeared.

Kyle tries to resume his normal life.  Playing treasure hunt and hide-and-go-seek in the cornfield with Grace, or following and spying on his brothers.  But deep within he senses that his and his family’s life is changing, and it’s creeping in like a cold, stark reality.  The normal childhood pranks and antics soon spiral out of control.  Among these nightmarish adventures, there is the bad encounter with the local bullies, the “play with fire” incident with Grace that gets out of hand and becomes a 100 foot wall of fire that burns 75 acres of trees, and his brothers dare him into an encounter with Buddy the bull that almost gets him nailed into the hereafter.  Mama and Daddy also have their problems.

Lurking throughout this summer is the presence of Sheriff’s Deputy Officer Dana Turpin who is investigating the disappearance of Melodie Godwin.  She’s a lady cop whose “black skin was so dark as to appear almost purple.”  She’s also tenacious and dedicated.  Then there’s the creepy, sinister man, “that man who lives across the road,” Kenny Ahearn.  He knows what Kyle and Grace have been up to.  Darkness and evil seem to surround him.  He uses threats, blackmail, and seeming entrancement to ensnare Kyle to do his cruel bidding.

Kyle has done his best to hide many of these dark events from his family and protect himself and Grace in the process.  He feels the underlying burdens of fear, guilt, and shame.  Their lives seem to be on the skids and sliding straight into Hell.

Will there ever be an end to the turmoil and mental traumas they suffer?  Will Officer Turpin find Melodie or recover her remains?  Can Ahearn’s evil be stopped?  Will the Edwards be able to escape the dark pall encompassing them?  Can they hold onto the Garden of Eden or will it be lost to them, too?  Regardless, that loss-of-innocence summer will definitely have a solid and far-reaching impact on many lives.  Perhaps they have reached or will reach the end of the road.

Readers who like horror, drama, and dark mysteries will enjoy this book.  Grant Jenkins has written a cunning, scary thriller.  It is chilling, somber, brooding, haunting, and disturbing.  He has a very colorful and vividly descriptive way of writing.  The characters, events, and action are well developed and cleverly portrayed.

The one challenge I encountered involved what I would describe as the flow and rhythm of the story.  Mr. Jenkins jumped us from present, past, and future time frames in ways that seemed, to me, to be choppy, disjointed, and sometimes confusing.

 At The End Of The Road definitely leaves a psychological impact that remains long after the book has ended. I am willing to bet that is what the author intended….and he has accomplished it well!

Here is the book trailer for the book.


Here is a little something to lighten the mood and get into the holiday mood.  This can be a fun thing to do with kids as well and a nice present to give.  

Scented Applesauce-Cinnamon Ornaments
3 cups applesauce
3 cups ground cinnamon


    Mix applesauce and cinnamon together until it is thick enough to hold a form when cut into cookie cutter shapes. Flatten the mixture on a flat surface and cut into cookie cutter shapes. 
1 1/2 cups applesauce to 2 cups cinnamon works for me to get a clay-like consistency. 
Dust hands with cinnamon for handling. You can add a teaspoon of cloves, ginger and allspice to round out the fragrance.

    Place cookie shapes on a cookie sheet to dry for 3 to 4 days depending on the size and thickness of the cookies. If using as a hanging ornament, make hole with toothpick or a straw before drying.

Use as ornaments, placeholders for a party, or as gifts.
I understand you can bake in a slow oven (350) for 2 to 3 hours, and it definitely makes your home smell delicious!
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