Monday, June 17, 2013

Mountain Home and Bracken MacLeod

As I write, run, and chase the dragon, I have learned a few things along the way.
Much like the running community, the writing community is incredibly supportive.  Reach out to writers who are higher up the artist food chain than yourself, and you will often get a hand reaching back down. It’s been incredible. Some of this I attribute to Goodreads, a place where writer and reader mix like some social-media commune. (please don’t screw this up Amazon)
Over the coming weeks, I am going to feature a few of my peers and those who have helped me along the way.


First up is Bracken MacLeod.  Smart, cerebral, deep; Bracken to me personifies what I mean when I spout off on dark fiction writers having some of the finest hearts around. I am still trying to fully figure out how to explain this, but it has something to do with the kindest hearts being most sensitive to life’s terrors. They feel them the deepest and thus describe them with the most vivid detail.

You will see this in his amazing novel, Mountain Home. There are a few criteria I have for reading novels that make it a 5 star review.  1. Did I stay up later than I might have just because I wanted to read more?  2. Do I eagerly grab my kindle before taking my trip to the Loo? 2. Do I never skim, do I cherish each moment, and feel a bit sad when it’s over? Mountain Home hit on all three of these, and much more. Click the Amazon page and see what others are saying, not just me.
The story is a Tour De Force of one day in a diner, with a damaged combat veteran taking aim on those who have wronged her, and the woman caught in between.  The best way I can describe the book is it’s like a first-person shooter video game but told with empathy, emotion, and compassion. 

This isn’t the boogeyman. These are real people who exist.  This is how Bracken wants it, as he explains. “You can send monsters from Hell, outer space, the bottom of the ocean, and the grave as much as you want, and it’ll never make me tremble as much as the things real people do to each other on a daily basis.”

Mountain Home takes place in Northern Idaho, a place Bracken used to camp.  If you have ever been in a small, mountain city diner, you will feel yourself back there again as soon as you read the first chapter. But once this story starts, your head will swivel, you may duck for cover, and you’ll be transported inside the heads of some incredible characters. Bracken is able to switch from one character to another with amazing artistry, which is perhaps criteria #4 of my 5 star review criteria: Do I envy the writer’s skills? Hellz yeah, in this case.  
Go read Mountain Home. I promise you will devour this novel fast with wide eyeballs and your brain on fire.

1 comment:

Jan Kozlowski said...

Told ya Bracken had mad writing skillz!

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