Sunday, July 27, 2014

Poison Town by Creston Mapes

When reporter Jack Crittendon finds out his long time mechanic has fallen ill and that the Randall family believes that Trenton City, Ohio's largest employer, the fiberglass plant is responsible, Jack decides to do some investigating.  His editor Cecil gives a lukewarm nod to the project, saying that a previous reporter (now moved on to another location and out of reach) had started a similar search into complaints about the plant and hadn't unearthed anything, causing Jack to wonder why he never heard of her findings.  The deeper he and fellow reporter Derrick dig, the more confusing and dangerous things become.  Jack's mechanic appears to be poisoned while a patient at the hospital and a neighbor they planned to interview disappears.  Meanwhile Jack's family life is threatened by his inability to put an attack on his wife behind them. His wife is ready to forgive the attacker and believes if Jack was true to his profession of faith, he would be ready also.


Reviewing POISON TOWN by Creston Mapes is going to be difficult.  First of all, I think Mapes wields a strong pen.  I never felt the book lagged -- the suspense was consistent, built it in all the right places, and followed through to the end.  Side stories did not feel added on, and all though a second book in a series, I had no problems what so ever following along.  Secondary characters such as Derrick added interest and I can see him in a more central role in future stories.  The whole Randall family add a "working class' wholesomeness and realness that this story requires.  They are definitely the "Davids' against the corporate Goliath.  I felt Jack's family strife was well conceived and rang true.  Forgiving anyone who has harmed your family is difficult to do and will certainly test one's faith.   So why, is it difficult for me to review this book?  I want to give it a total thumbs up, rate it a 5, call it awesome and be done.  Maybe I should, because I certainly enjoyed the book.  But there is this little gnawing disappointment ---- I just feel the greedy, evil corporation head who hides the poisonous side effects of their manufacturing processes has been overdone.  Yes, we've had actual cases of contaminants and gases poisoning innocent residents and workers, and we've have plenty of cover-ups over the years, that's true.  But I think we've had too many movies and books which paint the CEOS as willing to commit bribery, murder, and more to keep their commercial secrets.  To me, those story lines have become as old and tired as the obligatory car chase scene in every action movie.  Are there no fresh plots for suspense stories, or do I just read too much?

My apologies to Creston Mapes, who as I said earlier, is a good writer.  So talented, that I will be locating the first book in this series (Fear Name) and will certainly read Jack Crittenton's next adventure (Sky Zone).  I like his wife and mother-in-law too much to miss what happens next!  Hope the Randall family and Derrick make appearances, too.  In the end, I am giving this a thumbs up ( a strong 4) with a small cautionary note that the story may seem reminiscent of a 90s movie.

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