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Official Review: Iniquities of Gulch Fork

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Official Review: Iniquities of Gulch Fork

Post Number:#1 by micoleon13
» 14 Apr 2017, 11:58

[Following is an official review of "Iniquities of Gulch Fork" by Bob Smith and Sara Rhodes.]

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2 out of 4 stars
Review by micoleon13
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Iniquities of Gulch Fork is a mystery written by Bob Smith and Sara Rhodes. Based on true events, the story is set in Gulch Fork, a quiet back country town with the tranquil backdrop of the Ozark Mountains where many come to retire and spend their days in peace.

Samantha helps many of the invalid, mainly elderly retirees in the town in her position of nursing assistant, assisting them with day to day activities. Several of her patients are war veterans suffering from PTSD, which can make them a little more difficult to get to know. None more so than her new patient Rob. Surly and taciturn by nature, Rob suffers from neuropathy caused by Agent Orange, a legacy from his Vietnam days, which severely impacts on both his health and life. Finding it hard to break through his silent exterior, Samantha finds common ground by bringing up her father in conversation, a fellow sufferer of PTSD. An unusual friendship develops between the two, leading Samantha to discover all is not as it seems in their little town.

For the last few years an evil presence has been lurking in the form of a con man, taking advantage of several of the elderly citizens, both financially and psychologically, as he plays on their weaknesses and trust. When Rob’s beloved cats go missing, Samantha takes it on herself to investigate, discovering there is so much more going on under the surface in Gulch Fork beyond a simple con. Once her life and those of her family are threatened, Samantha knows she has to take action.

As someone who knows next to nothing about PTSD, I found it very interesting all the different forms it can take and how debilitating it can be. This is obviously a subject very close to the authors’ hearts, as it is described by what only feels like personal experience.

With the story being based on true events, I was shocked that someone could be so devious as to take advantage of these veterans, playing on what is already a severely debilitating problem and increasing it tenfold. The masquerading as a preacher and as someone they could trust, makes all these events so much more despicable.

I have read a few books on Vietnam, where the main character Rob served, but very little on the aftermath; what happened to the soldiers when they returned home. Even with a war that had so much controversy surrounding it, I was still taken aback when Rob’s own homecoming was described, with him facing abuse and contempt from protestors. Even if people disagreed with the war, many of these soldiers were drafted and had very little other choice but to go and fight.

The writing was mainly in third person, switching to first person in the instances where Rob reminisces about his past with his friend Zack, both the happy times and those filled with devastation. I found this helped emphasise how alone Rob felt and how often the past haunted him, crippling his way of life.

There was a lot of unnecessary repetition in the story, not only with character names, but with repeating parts of the story already described. This resulted in a very slow paced storyline. Also the use of speech marks to show the characters thoughts became quite distracting, especially when trying to distinguish what had been said aloud, and what was just in thought.

I rate Iniquities of Gulch Fork 2 out of 4 stars. Although I found the content interesting, especially the various disorders and medical outcomes of PTSD, the lack of dimension in the characters and the slow story line did affect my enjoyment of this book. It would appeal to those readers wanting to learn about PTSD, how it affects so many people’s lives, as well as the various means they have found to cope. I feel there should be more books facing these topics and showing veterans that they are not alone.

Iniquities of Gulch Fork
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Re: Official Review: Iniquities of Gulch Fork

Post Number:#2 by Amagine
» 15 Apr 2017, 09:34

I think this is a very informative book that many people need to read. There are so many victims of PTSD. Veterans and ordinary people who experienced something traumatic in their lives. This book can shine some light on an issue many people don't understand. It can help people to be more understanding. The rest of the book may be lacking but hopefully it can be revised because I think a lot of people need to know about PTSD.

Great Review! 😀
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Re: Official Review: Iniquities of Gulch Fork

Post Number:#3 by kandscreeley
» 15 Apr 2017, 09:52

It sounds like a very interesting story line. It's too bad about the repetition. That can definitely make a story seem slow and dragging. Thanks for the review. I hope the author cleans this up a little. Then it would be a good book to read.
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Re: Official Review: Iniquities of Gulch Fork

Post Number:#4 by micoleon13
» 15 Apr 2017, 11:03

Thanks. I definitely found the subject of PTSD interesting and think it needs to be spoken about more
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Re: Official Review: Iniquities of Gulch Fork

Post Number:#5 by LivreAmour217
» 15 Apr 2017, 11:19

It's a shame about the quality of the writing, but I admire the author's for tackling such serious subjects. I also really enjoyed reading your review--great job!
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Re: Official Review: Iniquities of Gulch Fork

Post Number:#6 by Chrys Brobbey
» 15 Apr 2017, 19:10

Many folks may not know about the Vietnam War that happened in the 1970's, and this book may prompt them to read about it. I have heard much about PTSD, but I have not met any such affected people in person. It looks like reading this book will broaden my perspective on the issue. Really, people must not prey on the vulnerable in society, and I hope this book stirs the conscience of all about that. Thanks for an informative review.
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