Official Review: Bush Blues by sheldon schmitt

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bookowlie
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Official Review: Bush Blues by sheldon schmitt

Post by bookowlie » 14 Sep 2018, 17:06

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Bush Blues" by sheldon schmitt.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Bush Blues: The Adventures of Police Chief Snow by Sheldon Schmitt is a novel about the experiences of a police chief in rural Alaska. It can be categorized in the General Fiction genre. As Chief of Police in Togiak, Brady Snow tackles crime with the aid of bush pilots Frank N. Beans and Stanley Beans. In the Alaskan wilderness, the police often travel by small plane to carry out their duties.

There is a murder mystery and light romance along the way, but the crux of the story is the rollicking stream of wacky people and occurrences. Among other happenings, Chief Snow is attacked by a bear after the bush plane he is flying in goes down. After the attack, a small man named Kinka takes him to a cabin and tends to his wounds until the rescue team arrives the next day. Kinka is one of the “Little People,” gnome-like creatures who are thought to be part of the spirit world. To the locals, none of this is out of the ordinary.

The story gets off to a slow start with excessive descriptions of bush flights and the Alaskan terrain. There are numerous eccentric characters introduced throughout the book. They often drink to excess and a few will resort to drinking Lysol for the alcohol content, if traditional liquor is unavailable. It’s difficult to remember who’s who as the characters have offbeat names and sometimes appear in the story for only a short period. That being said, Chief Snow is well drawn as a diligent worker who treats the townspeople with dignity.

What really sets this book apart is the immersion in Alaskan culture, including Yupik expressions and Alaskan folklore. I was instantly transported to this small village for what seemed like an extended stay. However, the plot is disjointed and feels more like a series of individual vignettes. While some parts are absorbing, there isn’t much propelling the story forward. The good news is the plot becomes more cohesive in the latter sections and roars to a thrilling conclusion.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The author’s main intention may have been to showcase the life of a police chief in an interesting region. Still, I would have preferred a stronger plot rather than the continual introduction of new characters and nutty situations. Also, extra editing is needed as I noticed approximately nine errors (incorrect tense, a missing word, lack of possessive form, the wrong last name of a character, etc.). Despite these issues, I was enriched by the beautiful imagery and tidbits about the Alaskan lifestyle. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy escaping to a fascinating setting and culture.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 15 Sep 2018, 08:14

The Alaskan culture and village described in your review are interesting. I would enjoy the imagery, as well. Thanks for your excellent review!

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Post by gali » 15 Sep 2018, 08:35

A novel revolving around the experiences of a police chief in rural Alaska sounds intriguing. Murder mystery, light romance, and Alaskan folklore make is a heady combination. Too bad about the disjointed disjointed plot and lack of editing. I am glad you enjoyed the book despite those issues. Great review as always!
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Post by bookowlie » 15 Sep 2018, 09:14

Thanks Cecilia and Gali! I just noticed the book is categorized in the Mystery/Thriller/Crime genre. Although there is a mystery in the second half of the story, I still think this is general fiction. The mystery is more of a subplot. Most of the book focuses on the wacky people and random daily occurrences.
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Post by 420waystoreachthesun » 15 Sep 2018, 23:34

I really love your review, but I think I'm a little tired of this genre. Still, good job!

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Post by Debjani Ghosh » 16 Sep 2018, 00:28

Though the book has a gripping climax, the slow pace in the beginning will definitely put me off. Thanks for the candid review!

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Post by gen_g » 16 Sep 2018, 09:44

This sounds like it has a fascinating premise, but it is really a pity that the story was not more cohesive as a whole. I will probably give this a pass because of that, but thank you for the review, bookowlie.

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Post by kandscreeley » 16 Sep 2018, 18:42

If I could bear the slow start, this sounds rather fun and exciting. I love that it is set in Alaska. I can only imagine the adventure that would take place. Thanks for another great review. I'll put this on my list.
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Post by Fusmic2k » 16 Oct 2018, 05:21

That good police man try to do his job but sadly attacked by wild bear and luckily rescued by a native villager who is believed to one of spiritual intity or something... i was amazed how the review delivered the story ...
:) this is my first comment and i have no idea how this stuff works 😀....

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Post by Mbrooks2518 » 16 Feb 2019, 19:43

This reminds me of a reality show I used to watch that followed Alaskan cops, so I'll read this for that alone. Great review!

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Post by BelleReadsNietzsche » 26 Feb 2019, 17:23

This is a great review that identifies the strengths and weaknesses in the book. Like so many other commenters, I find the idea of a book that focuses on an Alaskan police chief as the main character- there are such unique issues in that role, I suspect!- but it sounds like this isn’t heavy enough on the mystery/thriller element for me. And slow starts are becoming more of a killer for me the more I read. Thanks again for the review!
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