Recent Reviews for Rusty Van Reeves
Revealing The Covenant (Book) - 8/19/2003 4:15:45 PM|
This is a tightly-written, eminently credible thriller. It is fast-paced, with nothing wasted, and pulled right from today’s headlines, with a villain (HMOs) that most Americans are more than willing to hate. It’s especially neat the way you incorporate recent history, such as the Clinton Administration, Whitewater, Charlie’s fancying himself a latter-day Harrison Ford, etc.
Starting off with the scene where Christopher Reeve walks again is brilliant (especially the motif of Superman holding the wheelchair over his head). Your Consortium is a monolithic villain, seemingly all-powerful and completely evil. What’s intriguing is that Stergis Braxton is not all good, either, but is willing to take underhanded measures to protect his Club.
You’re very good with detailed descriptions of places. Every sky you describe is different; the verdigris copper of the gas torches at Rolan Oak, the rosewood tables, Waterford crystal, the detailing of the road signs as Michael drives to Cypress Cove, his taste in music, are exactly enough to put the reader in the setting, without weighing them down.
You really know your medical science, and you have the gift of explaining it to the layman without talking down or overwhelming them with data.
You avoid the cliché of love at first sight through the early rivalry between Kayla and Michael, which at first becomes professional respect and then eventually love – much better. Your plot is marvelously well constructed. Hans Kilmer’s forgetfulness, and what happens to the precious envelope, is quite believable, and the consequences move the story along at a suspenseful pace. There’s a good cliffhanger at the end of Chapter 33, and the tornado is a nice touch. Lucky’s finding the writing impressions on the legal pad that lead them to the Majestic Lady is also a good device.
You write good dialogue. The way Michael’s Southern accent slips out once he relaxes with Kayla makes a likeable guy even more likeable.
There are plenty of nice little touches, like the cabbie with the vodka-laced strawberry malt, the fact that the bad guys are stressed and sweaty and living on junk food, Charlie’s playing “bumper cars” with the FBI, the waitress playing romantic songs for Michael and Kayla. And the Major’s “kite” is fantastic! Just a touch of James Bond, but also within the realm of believable military technology.
“Simon’s” transformation is fascinating, but at least some of it – the foster home, his legal training – might be better introduced earlier on to make him more sympathetic. He’s a complex character (in a good sense), because the reader doesn’t know whether or not to trust him until the very end.
Kimberly Crist is also a complex and interesting character. She offers contrast and commentary on white society, and she’s a good role model for what a bright young person of color can achieve. Why do I get the impression that Kimberly and Simon might appear in a subsequent book someday? This would be a very good thing.
The chase, complete with the storm at sea and the foul-up with the saline net, and John-John’s going back to retrieve Gabby, is a nail-biter. And the final standoff shows everyone’s true character, especially Kayla’s finishing off the Major to save Michael’s life, and Charlie’s attempt to save Lucky, which is something a doctor would do.
Revealing the Covenant is a book I would pick up and read and recommend to others. Best of luck with it!
Velvet Sky (Book) - 9/27/2002 2:38:27 PM
A Wonderful Use of Language
"Velvet Sky" by Rusty Van Reeves is a powerful and complex book that leads from one emotional crisis to another. I found the characters intriguing and really rounded but, I had a little trouble with the plot lines, but all in all.... a very nice read.
Reeves' use of language is exceptional and his imagery is very well done. Lots of talent in this new writer.
I would be interested in more from this author in the future. A powerful debut!
Velvet Sky (Book) - 9/27/2002 2:32:06 PM
Rusty Van Reeves is a storyteller with a true gift for sustaining suspense. His novel "Velvet Sky" benefits from this skill plus a reliable sense of pacing. The story builds almost perfectly, balancing a leisurely beginning with well-paced final chapters; the outcome is always in doubt as the story races toward its conclusion. "Velvet Sky," in fact, reads so much like a movie scenario that it's easy to imagine it adapted to the screen.
The book centers on the story of four young people growing up in rural Mississippi in the 1970s. Strong family bonds are counterpoised to the brutal schemes of dangerous and malevolent human predators with the potential to bring ruin to all the young folk's dreams.
The main narrative tells the story of a young woman named Chelsea, her eventual escape from an abusive father, and her struggle to build a normal life. She's an engaging character that the reader can't help rooting for. Some of the other characters are equally well-drawn.
While it teeters on the edge of sentimentality, "Velvet Sky" avoids crossing the boundary. In any event the novel is redeemed by the author's careful plotting and deft use of suspense. "Velvet Sky" is a book that is well worth reading.
Velvet Sky (Book) - 7/4/2002 1:10:44 PM
More than a literary, coming of age story, Velvet Sky is a fast-paced novel that contains a splash of … everything. Rusty Van Reeves writes with heartfelt prose, short scenes, crisp dialogue and manages to tell an amazing story about love, friendship and unspeakable evils.
Reeves focuses in on four teenagers growing up in the 1970’s in a small town in Mississippi. These characters are night and day to one another. Patrick, the star athlete, has the world before him for the taking. Kelly, the prettiest girl in school, is compassionate and down to earth. Chase, from a broken home, is a confused young man struggling with his sexuality. Chelsea, who has been sexually abused by her father since she was little, was abandoned by her mother and younger brother. Fear forced Chelsea to keep quiet the dark secrets that have essentially caused her to withdrawal and into utter isolation, ostracizing herself from the rest of the world.
The book explodes as everything once seemingly quiet and normal is spun into a tornado of events leading to multiple climaxes. Kelly’s ex-boyfriend is crazy. He can not handle the fact that Kelly and Patrick are now a couple. Chase explores his gayness only to have his homophobic father realize the truth. For Chelsea, even darker secrets about her past, about her father, are unearthed. The truth puts her life in jeopardy.
Engaging and engrossing. Velvet Sky is the type of novel that may cross genres. It reads like literary work equivalent to Faulkner. The pacing makes it like a suspense novel comparable to some of today’s best sellers. An energetic ride from beginning to end. It was a shame to come to the last page. I look forward to more works by this gifted writer.
Reviewed for BookBrowser.com
Reviewed May 2002 by,
--Phillip Tomasso III, author of Johnny Blade, Third Ring & Tenth House