Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett

Title: American Elsewhere
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Genre(s): Fantasy, Horror, Sci-fi

Paperback, 688 pages

Publication: February 12, 2013 by Orbit

Buy the book

Source: Publicist

Some places are too good to be true. Under a pink moon, there is a perfect little town not found on any map. In that town, there are quiet streets lined with pretty houses, houses that conceal the strangest things.
After a couple years of hard traveling, ex-cop Mona Bright inherits her long-dead mother's home in Wink, New Mexico. And the closer Mona gets to her mother's past, the more she understands that the people of Wink are very, very different ...
From one of our most talented and original new literary voices comes the next great American supernatural novel: a work that explores the dark dimensions of the hometowns and the neighbors we thought we knew.

Mona Bright is an Ex-cop who is always on the road going from places to place, unsure what to make of her life after the devastating death of her unborn child and divorce. Then suddenly she finds out that her dad has passed away, though she has never been close with her father. With his death she inherits all of his belongs, which includes a hot cherry red muscle car and a house…which surprisingly was once her mother’s. She never knew her mother gave the deeds to her father, but life must be looking up if she got a new car and house; she just needs to go to Wink, New Mexico a place she never heard of let alone seen on a map.

After a lot of research and guess-timation on the location of Wink, Mona eventually finds it. The small town of Wink is like a flash back of the 1950s, everything is perfect with neat little houses with white picket fence, flawlessly trimmed lawn and trees and everyone seems like a cozy tight knit town where everyone knows everything about everyone else.  All Mona wants is to find out more about her mother’s history and who she was before she committed suicide. Mona questions everyone the town people and digs nonstop for more information about her mom, and soon she discover A LOT she didn’t know about her mom’s past and that the town of Wink isn’t what it seems to be. 

My first impression on reading American Elsewhere was that I’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone, especially when Mona arrives in Wink, New Mexico.  The people of Wink were astounded when the first see Mona driving down the street in Wink, because Wink has had anyone going in or out of the town for thirty years.  The people of wink were strange; think the Stepford wives movie and the way everyone talk came out robotic/monotone and you can definitely tell everyone is keeping secrets. When Mona questions the residents about her mother or the lab on the mesa where her mother used to work they’d say they know nothing of it or directly say that they’re forbidden to talk. Meanwhile, someone is going around killing people in Wink, and the town people are getting nervous because apparently these ‘people’ cannot be killed. Not only does Mona have to find out more about her mom but she’s going have to help find the killer if she wants to get answers.

American Elsewhere is a blend of contemporary fiction, horror, fantasy and science fiction. I really enjoyed American Elsewhere but it is by no means a simple book, the story/plot line is complex and heavily layered clocking out at almost 700 pages.  While the story itself was intriguing, I felt that the characters all fell flat, including the main character Mona. There were too many characters to remember, with two primary groups of character those in Wink and those outside of Wink. The story would jump back between the two groups and although this book is almost 700 pages, there wasn’t much page time for the main characters which causes a disconnection between me, the reader and the cast of characters. Overall American Elsewhere was a good book, I really liked the science fiction/horror part of the story and everything was well written. For those curious/interested in reading the book, some things that I think best describe this book are again the Twilight Zone, X-files, and The Host by Stephanie Meyers.  I highly recommend this to fans that enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy and Horror genres. 

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