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Monday, March 18, 2013

0 Book Review: The Wildman by Rick Hautala

The WildmanTitle: The Wildman

Author: Rick Hautala
Genre: Thriller
Age Group: Young Adult
    Page Length: 270 pages 
    Publisher: Odium Media (September 19, 2012)

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Book Summary:
Jeff Cameron is going back to Camp Tapiola on Lake Onwego to meet several old friends and reminisce about their childhood experiences at camp. But not all of their childhood memories are good. For thirty-five years lingering images of their friend Jimmy Foster’s lifeless body being pulled from the lake has disturbed Jeff’s peace of mind. Was Jimmy Foster's death an accident or murder? The authorities had said Jimmy’s death was an accidental drowning, but Jeff had always believed there was more to the story. Why after all these years did his old friend arrange this reunion? And why can’t Jeff escape the feeling that his friend has a hidden agenda. What is this reunion is really about? And another question remains... who is The Wildman?

About Author
Rick HautalaRick Hautala has more than thirty published books to his credit, including the million copy, international best-seller Nightstone, as well as Twilight Time, Little Brothers, Cold Whisper, Impulse, and The Wildman. He has also published four novels—The White Room, Looking Glass, Unbroken, and Follow—using the pseudonym A. J. Matthews. His more than sixty published short stories have appeared in national and international anthologies and magazines. His short story collection Bedbugs was selected as one of the best horror books of the year in 2003.

A novella titled Reunion was published by PS Publications in December, 2009; and Occasional Demons, a short story collection, is due in 2010 from CD Publications. He wrote the screenplays for several short films, including the multiple award-winning The Ugly Film, based on the short story by Ed Gorman, as well as Peekers, based on a short story by Kealan Patrick Burke, and Dead @ 17, based on the graphic novel by Josh Howard.

A graduate of the University of Maine in Orono with a Master of Art in English Literature (Renaissance and Medieval Literature), Hautala lives in southern Maine with author Holly Newstein. His three sons have all grown up and (mostly) moved out of the house. He served terms as Vice President and Trustee for the Horror Writers Association

Author Website: http://www.rickhautala.com/

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Book Review: This was my first Rick Hautala book but it won’t be my last. It is a compelling story that made my eyes water, made me gasp and put my hand on my mouth with a couple of plot twists that I didn’t see coming, and made me read faster because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

The Wildman is classified as horror but if you’re looking for blood and gore this one isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a story that gets you in the head of the target of a mad man then this one is for you. Jeff has been haunted by the memory of a tragic event that took place at summer camp over 30 years ago. When he gets the chance to reunite with friends from that camp he doesn’t have a lot of interest in going but the memory of the tragedy pulls him back in spite of his reluctance.

The first part of the story is full of pieces to which we can all relate. He tries to see the child in the adult faces. Tries to see the child in the adult personalities. He thinks about what may be between the lines of what each of his friends says and does. Half way through the book the story takes a tragic turn.

The author starts and ends the book with a discussion about the fact that no story really has a single starting point or ending point. This story, for example, started 35 years ago at summer camp. But really it started even before that when each of the boys’ lives began. And you could continue this path indefinitely. The tragic turn of the story is related to the childhood tragedy. It’s a believable turn of events, which adds to the fear and anxiety created in the story. Jeff questions what he sees, feels, hears, senses in a terrifying course of events. He doesn’t know what’s real and what’s just in his head and since we are in his head, neither do we.

I have only two criticisms of this page-turner. Descriptions of Jeff’s wonderings about the minds and motives of his friends goes on a little long for my taste sometimes. And while the last couple of chapters are very good I felt like it was a bit drawn out as well. I believe that part of the point of that was that to the main character the events of those couple of chapters felt like an eternity although they were only a few hours of his life. But I wanted things to move along a little more quickly than they did.

All in all I recommend this book if you enjoy suspense. It’s a very enjoyable, entertaining read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review by: Sonia Fogal | Sonia Fogal - Writer!

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