3 out of 4 stars
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A Place to Die by Rusty Savage takes you back in time to the moonshine era where you read about a teenage boy who has lost his brother and is out for revenge. Savage is a self-published author who has always had a passion and interest in writing. He adds a lot of details throughout the book to help the reader picture the historic era. I even found myself reading the dialogue with that old time accent!
A Place to Die starts off slowly and becomes a bit repetitive at times. It was hard for me to start gaining interest in the story while reading about all of Sam's, the main character's, day-to-day activities. Savage spends a lot of time talking about how Sam's brother's murder impacted Sam and his parents and how Sam was going to get revenge. There are times that I felt like Savage was repeating details and dialogue unnecessarily. The story-line picks ups around chapter 5 or 6, but the novel still isn't entirely captivating until closer to chapter 13. The instances of unnecessary details and repetition of events becomes scarce at this point and you are right in the midst of all the action.
This novel is categorized as a c/m/t/s, but I feel that it lacks the excitement and suspense that is typical of the genre. Despite the eventual pick up about halfway through the novel, I found myself bored with this story. However, I feel that A Place to Die still deserves 3 out of 4 stars for the level of detail included throughout and for the flow of the writing. There were only a few typos that I found as I read (mostly missing or added quotation marks), but nothing that detracted from the content of the story.
A Place to Die is appropriate for any adult audience, but would be a best fit for those that grew up around the moonshine era or have an interest in that era. There is not much action, suspense, or mystery to keep more active readers interested from start to finish.
I don't think Savage's message comes clear with this book until the end when Sam is speaking to his Father. His message is about what is right and what is wrong; about being a good person despite going through bad times in life. Sam feels justified about his actions and the outcome of the events. Sam's father, however, disagrees and reminds Sam that he is still young, with dreams and a future still ahead of him. Today's society tries to point fingers at media (movies, video games, etc.) for corrupting youth and increasing violence at younger ages. I think Savage's message applies directly to that in pointing out the importance of how a person is raised. Sam was raised to go to school, go to church, and know right from wrong. Sam seems to confuse what is wrong with what feels right, but in the end his father reminds him to think of his future and how he was raised.
A Place to Die is a well written and very detailed historical crime novel. If you enjoy stories from the historic eras and can push past the slow first few chapters in this book, then it is definitely worth taking the time to read.
A Place to Die
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