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Monday, February 20, 2012

The Cellar and The Well

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How is everybody? I am great! I say this because as I pen this post on Sunday afternoon, I am anticipating one more day off as Monday is President's Day in America. Typically these posts are scheduled for midnight in California and I am at work as the first comments begin to come in. They make my day, by the way, so I thank you for that. Tomorrow, I will get to sleep in and then get some writing done as I begin to receive visitors.

I have entitled this post, The Cellar and The Well, because I wish to speak about two similar things which weigh heavily on my mind at the moment.

The Cellar:

Can you smell that? It's the smell of a freshly cut lawn. Well, not a lawn exactly, but grass anyway. How about the scent of chalk? No? How about peanuts, hot dogs and beer? Now perhaps you see what I'm getting at. I rarely speak of sports on this page, but with Spring Training starting this weekend, I just can't help myself. Baseball is in the air! My beloved Chicago Cubs have added another year since their last World Series Championship. That last one coming in 1908. In fact, they haven't even reached the grand stage since 1945. Pretty sad, isn't it? It doesn't stand to get any better this year either, I'm afraid. The team is rebuilding and may very well finish...(you guessed it) in the cellar of the division standings. It will most likely take a few years before the team is very good. However, we are under new management this spring, and when you are a Cubs fan, hope springs eternal.

The Well:

I just finished reading an utterly marvelous novel, The Well, by Author Peter Labrow. And when I write that I just finished it, I mean exactly that. It has taken me a bit longer to get through, but that was more to do with my schedule not allowing me time to read. So, wanting to finish the novel, I did not turn on Trusty Laptop Sunday at all, electing instead to shut myself in my bedroom to finish a most captivating book.

First, I will let the blurb speak for itself:

Trapped. Missing. Cursed. Fourteen-year-old Becca Richards and her stepbrother have fallen to the bottom of an ancient well. Their parents are away; they won't be missed for days. The predatory man who had been stalking Becca now switches his attentions to her best friend. Two women who know where Becca is trapped are desperate that she should never escape. Over the course of a week, family, friends and strangers are drawn together by a terrible shared fate - from which not all will escape. 'The Well' is a darkly gripping tale about how we respond to the hand fate has dealt us - and the consequences of our choices. The Well deftly intertwines a story of supernatural horror with a tale of one of the greatest fears of modern life. As the book progresses, the two stories become one - driving relentlessly towards a single, thrilling finale. The Well is a fast-paced, riveting story that will grip you - and keep you guessing - until the very end.

The amazing tale is three very good works in one: it has Horror, it is a great Crime Drama and it is a Thriller that is immensely that. In the beginning, I sat down, preparing myself for horror. When it became a crime story, I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself slightly disappointed when it suddenly turned paranormal on me; however, in the end, it all worked together beautifully. Labrow could have settled for his story simply being a Thriller, and he would have had a very good novel. Yet he did not. He went for the trifecta, and nailed it.
The story is a tantalising tale, but it very well might be the many subplots that keep you flipping pages. They weave in and out, back and forth, as if the author had been sipping from the same fount as Dan Brown, but, dare I say, with a bit more substance to each chapter, not merely settling for stringing his readers along with one cliff hanger after another. Without revealing too much, I just loved the way that separate characters came together, not just for the missing Becca, but by the very determined young girl, Sammy, who refused to stand idly by and allow another to suffer.
This is a great story, as I have already alluded to; however, what makes it more than just a fun way to pass a weekend, are the brilliant characters. The phrase 'three-dimensional' gets tossed about a lot when writers discuss the craft of creating believable characters, but let me tell you something: Labrow nailed that, too. From the heights of leads such as trapped Becca and the "gifted" young Sammy; to the supporting cast of best friend Hannah, Sammy's mother Abby, Becca' s mother Sarah and boyfriend Jim; to even the creepy Randle, troubled Ed and members of the police force - this novel is the fabled Lost Ark. It raises the bar for all of us! You may submit for me a novel that contains a better story, but I defy you to list one that sports better characters.
I have mentioned recently how I have spent most of my reading time on Indie authors this past year or so, and have been pleasantly surprised and impressed with the quality of their work. If there was a part of me that was ready to get back to the big established authors, Author Peter Labrow and his incredible novel banishes and caps that thought right down inside The Well.
Have a great week, my friends.
We'll talk soon.    


  1. Thanks for your great review, James. I'm really pleased that you enjoyed The Well so much - and I'm humbled by your comments; thank you.

  2. The Well sounds so creepy. I mean that in a good way though!

    I'm excited for baseball season, too. :) Don't worry about your Cubs–they'll get their championship eventually I'm sure! The rebuilding teams get awesome and the teams on top fall to the bottom at some point. It happens in every sport!

  3. Sounds like a good book - I'll have to check it out!

  4. Sounds like a great book! Very interesting genre blending.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, my friends. That goes especially for you, Peter. It's a hell of a book! Congratulations on an incredible effort!
    Guys, I had seen the book here and there, but have little time to read, so I had to clear through my TBR list in order to get to it. Man, am I glad that I did!


  6. I can't tell you how many times I ditched school to see the Cubs opener when I was growing up. :) I think it's a requirement for any kid growing up in Chicago.

  7. Hey Jimmy,

    I also have seen Peter's name around more recently, although more of recommendations than actual reviews. So I appreciate you giving me some more background. Will go on the list for sure.

    And I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that your boys stay out of the cellar :)

    Hope all is well.

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

  8. First of all, Jimmy--it's already Wednesday (nearly thursday), and I've missed your post somehow in everything I've had to do this week!

    Secondly (but not secondly important at all) GO CUBIES!

    And Thirdly, this sounds like a great book. I still say you've missed your calling. You should be a book reviewer or something. Not that you don't do well with the things you are doing now, of course.

    Enjoyed the post at any rate (can you tell I'm tired?)

  9. Hey James! Great review. This book sounds thrilling, creepy and gripping - right up my street. Beautifully put.Enjoy your baseball;-)

  10. Jimmy, just reading that blurb gave me chills! Getting trapped under ground is...omg, one of my absolute nightmares. Wow.

    I hope you had a nice weekend, and are well-rested!


Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate you taking the time. I'll get back to you here or on one of the other social networks. It's not like we're not on all of them, right? ;) Also, if you're here to give me an award - bless you. However, your friendship and visits are more than enough. Thanks and blessings.