Friday, July 27, 2018

Guest Post by R D Maddux, Author of Boy on The Beach


It’s amazing what 39 years can do to a culture

There’s a span of thirty-nine years between the present day, San Diego, setting of my novel, Boy On The Beach, to the flash-backs of another era. So much of what our current West Coast culture is today was put in motion by the generation that came into their adulthood during the late 60’s and 70’s. 39 years ago, the riotous days of the counter-culture were morphing into the disco era. But in communes along the coast of California and the hippie hangouts in the Redwoods of Mendocino, the last hold-outs of the “free love” scene were still lost in the passions of their hedonistic choices. In some ways these two eras are completely different. But in some ways, not much has changed. By setting these two seasons in contrast and bringing the protagonist past into direct conflict with his new identity I think I’ve been able to explore a deeper conflict that our present society must deal with as it faces the choices it made years ago. Many believe that we are set on a course as a society where we eventually will have to “pay” for the sins of our past. Boy On The Beach sets in contrasts two eras. One where we’ve sown to the wind and one where there’s a tornado heading our way. It also unblinkingly addresses a possible payback that may be coming but hints as well at a possible hope-filled future our characters could never have imagined. 

Never thought this idyllic setting would work for a mystery

I love this wonderful city where I’ve lived for 30 plus years. The beach, the great weather, the great people. But I’m fascinated how all this idyllic world can be the perfect setting for mystery and intrigue. By putting the nightmare of unresolved issues from my character’s past and his hope of success here in San Diego, I’ve been able to create a story of intrigue and fascination that will leave the reader wondering right up until the last page. 

Building suspense can be a suspenseful process

The writer is always challenged with the tasks of creating suspense if they’re writing a mystery. But as I put the details of this story together I was personally amazed as the story built on itself to its surprising end. But in the process, I was faced with some big challenges. How do you take your average real estate developer and put him in a place where his life is suddenly turned around and he’s left in a state of uncertainty about his future? No, it’s not just having the bottom fall out of the market. No, it’s something completely different. You bring his past crashing down on him just as his dream project starts to come to fruition. Then you throw in a romantic element, not merely because you want to make the story more marketable but because it really works and it’s true to life. So how do you build the suspense? You reveal that current nightmares are not just dreams but a reality that you tried to forget and now it’s rushing back into your world and you can’t control it.

It’s great when your friends really like your novel

I’ve been amazed at my friend’s response to my novel. A lot of times, as an author, you have those friends who encourage you to develop your gift. They praise your writing, but you wonder if it’s sincere. Well when I released my latest novel I asked them to read it and give me their honest opinion. Well, when they started putting their reviews on the Amazon page where my book is marketed I was really stunned. So many of them gave their honest and eloquent opinions. There they were, those 4 and 5 stars. Not there merely because I was their friend but because the story really gripped them, and they couldn’t put it down. I was wowed and thankful. Now I just hope those readers who don’t know me will be equally impressed.

A psychological thriller set within the sound of the surf

Often when we think of the beach we think of a place of tranquility and refreshing. But I’ve used this setting to create a mystery of intrigue that even the gentle lapping of waves against the shore cannot dispel. I’ve wondered what would happen if I put my “everyman”, comfortably ensconced in the idyllic world of San Diego beach life and brought some of the unfinished business from his past back into his life. What will he do when confronted with the ghost of his younger years and hopes of success in the dog eat dog world of competitive real estate development in this southern California city. What will he do when his dreams run into the reality of the nightmares of his past.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

R.D. Maddux has story telling in his blood. Since he was young he’s always loved a good tale. He’s been writing seriously since he was in high school and college. His novels range from Mystery and Intrigue to Sci-fi/fantasy. With Boy On The Beach he’s set the story in modern America, to be exact, on the West Coast of California. He’s a native of the golden state and has been a resident of San Diego since 1987. Before that he grew up in northern California and lived in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area with sojourns in some of the beautiful parts of our state.

Living in California for over 60 years he couldn't help but watch the way things have changed in our culture and the impact this coast makes on the rest of America and the world. So even though Boy On The Beach is fiction, like most serious novels, it is not without a context and comment on issues we all face in our changing world. It takes place in real locations that are very familiar to him and its characters, which are fictional, no doubt have their counterparts in the real world. Boy On The Beach is a story of intrigue, suspense, revenge, love and redemption with flashbacks to the era when sex, drugs and rock and roll set our culture on it's inevitable journey to our present day. This idea has been rattling around in his heart and mind for a decade and it's finally coming to the page.
Note: Readers Muse thanks the author for his wonderfully written post!


Boy on The Beach by R D Maddux : A Review


BOOK TITLE: Boy on the Beach

AUTHOR: R.D. Maddux

ISBN/ASIN: B06XJMD34B

GENRE: Mystery / Thriller

NUMBER OF PAGES: 304

FORMAT: Digital

SERIES / STANDALONE: Standalone

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: I thank iRead Book Tours for this review copy.

SUMMARY:

Andrew Foster, a real estate developer in San Diego, is a man suddenly haunted by his past. Memories, like specters from his former life of sex, drugs and rock and roll have come crashing into his current world of business in this sunny coastal city. The ominous, repeated appearance of a black SUV at the beach where he meets his sister each week, has triggered fears that it’s payback time for a bad choice he made years ago. ​

​To add to his frustrations, his hopes of a big breakthrough in the San Diego real estate market haven’t come to pass. He’s starting to wonder if his visions of success will ever come true when an investor offers to finance his dream project. Soon things start to fall into place for Andrew in business, life, and even love. He starts dating the beautiful and business-savvy Nicole but even with her at his side he can’t seem to shake the ghosts of his past. As the relationship with Nicole deepens, Andrew opens up to her about the many loves and adventures that have taken him from the crazy days of living in Big Sur and Joshua Tree to business success in San Diego. Her wise insights help him face the character flaws that have caused him to fail in his past relationships.

Rounding out his social life is his once-a-week task of assisting his sister with her nanny job watching a young boy named Chandler. They build sand castles on the beach and enjoy the beauty of nature together. But the now ominous weekly appearance of a strange car at the beach has awakened Andrew’s fears. Is the boy in danger? Or worse, has an enemy from Andrew’s past come seeking revenge and now Chandler’s caught in the middle?

A strange twist of events threatens to destroy Andrew’s dreams, but as he searches for answers, a sudden revelation offers hope of a future he never imagined. ​



FIRST IMPRESSION:

The book's cover was simple and straightforward, revealing only a bit about what kind of story this would turn out to be. But the summary is a bit more detailed, setting the scene and pace with care, giving the reader a clear picture of what the novel would cover. What piqued my interest in the summary was the detailing on the regret of one's actions in the past. When a lead character is anguished by a past decision, the consequences of which travel into the present, the novel should carry off not one, but two timelines with coherence. I was eager to begin reading the novel for this particular reason.

REVIEW:

One of the first things I would say about the book is positive. It is not easy to carry out different timelines with such ease, and mingle it with different points of view in the story. The author does both beautifully, even though sometimes it is hard to keep track. The story feels exactly like it should, highlights of an old man's long life, the mistakes, the attitudes, the redemption and remorse arc. This is where Andrew becomes simultaneously unlikeable and relatable because all people at some point have made mistakes that have made them regret for the rest of their lives. Those with stronger conscience feel the brunt of these past mistakes like an albatross around the neck. Those who read of Andrew and his life would see parallels not in his behaviour but in how the same life can mean two different things during youth and old age.

But where the book falters is in its uneven pacing. The narrative feels long, and though it is descriptive and beautiful, some things could have been left without such detailing. This rich prose does not suit the mood of the story in some places, lending the reader to confuse view points and lose track of the important crux of the story. The talented writing is a bit overdone, giving a bit more than readers would expect of the novel. And the extra bits are what seriously affect the speed of the otherwise thrilling tale. The narration would have been termed befitting for a different genre, but for a thriler, the book needs more action and suspense than detailing. The language was a treat to read, and has some memorable quotes that I would take back.

The book gets marks for being engaging, being true to the timelines it was based in, even with the alternating points of view. The experiences seem realistic, and totally believable. The book would have been a walk in the memory lane for anyone who grew up 40 years ago in California. It is for this reason that it may also seem a little off the mark for those who cannot understand the time period or the inside references that are scattered in the narrative in places. It takes a special kind of writing to make the readers understand, in vivid clarity, what life was like back then. The author wins in bringing the scenes to life, but also keeps doing it in places where it is not strictly necessary. The resultant of this writing is a book that can be cherished in subsequent readings for the words and descriptions but would dampen the excitement and the thrill of the reader the first time it is read.

The redemption arc of Andrew as a character becomes the focal point of the story. His justifications and remorse, his mistakes and regrets get the limelight. Omitting all the details in this review, the book is a treat that would either stay with the reader in all aspects, or take the reader tens of pages to get into the groove of the story. Overall, Boy On The Beach made to my good list, and I would read some parts of this book again, but that is only for the writing.

WHAT I LIKED:
  • The book's message about our actions and consequences is worth remembering.
  • The ending gets a thumbs up
  • The timelines are woven seamlessly.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
  • The adrenaline of the beginning slowly recedes into some heart clenching descriptive narrative. This slows the pace noticeably
  • The narrative is like a journal that not many can effectively follow. The changing view points can get confusing after a while.
  • The book uses some references of the time that might be missed by some readers, but this is not a deal breaker.
VERDICT:

Relatable, vivid tale of a man's life, his mistakes and their consequences. The book shall grow on the reader when read the second time and after.

RATING: 3.8/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



R.D. Maddux has story telling in his blood. Since he was young he’s always loved a good tale. He’s been writing seriously since he was in high school and college. His novels range from Mystery and Intrigue to Sci-fi/fantasy. With Boy On The Beach he’s set the story in modern America, to be exact, on the West Coast of California. He’s a native of the golden state and has been a resident of San Diego since 1987. Before that he grew up in northern California and lived in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area with sojourns in some of the beautiful parts of our state.

Living in California for over 60 years he couldn't help but watch the way things have changed in our culture and the impact this coast makes on the rest of America and the world. So even though Boy On The Beach is fiction, like most serious novels, it is not without a context and comment on issues we all face in our changing world. It takes place in real locations that are very familiar to him and its characters, which are fictional, no doubt have their counterparts in the real world. Boy On The Beach is a story of intrigue, suspense, revenge, love and redemption with flashbacks to the era when sex, drugs and rock and roll set our culture on it's inevitable journey to our present day. This idea has been rattling around in his heart and mind for a decade and it's finally coming to the page.

EDITIONS AVAILABLE: Kindle, Paperback

PRICE $6.81 for Kindle, $14.95 for Paperback

BOOK LINKS: Amazon