||Sept 23, 2010
The Elephant Tree by R D Ronald - A Night Owl Reviews Book Review
I just finished this book and the last page blew me away! I'm usually the type of person who can predict fairly accurately who "did it" in a murder mystery of any type of media. So, when I say the end is fairly surprising, enough said. This is RD Ronald's first book. It is straightforward, simple, yet devious. The characters are not complex; however, it's in the details that things becom devious. What RD does is tell a story loaded with details.
When he discusses the Elephant Tree and what it means to Scott, he revists it and shows how this tree means to Jack as well. Everything in this book has a purpose; it's up to the reader to figure out where each piece goes. If a character is gone for a while, don't be surprised to see the character later in the story. This story is tightly crafted, packed with details and emotions, well worth the read. I'd like to point out for those of you who read the ending first to get a "better grasp" on the story, it's not going to help as you'll need to know what came first in order to make sense of the ending. It would not surprise me to see another book with Scott and Angela in it, and when it comes out, I'll be the first in line.
The Stamp Of Approval
The Elephant Tree is definitely worth the read. There are great characters, a great plot, and everything just fits together in a great timeline with a great pace.'
State of Review
I don't know what it is with smaller publishers, but somehow they do a great job of finding authors that can tell a quick and exciting story. Many of the big named publishing companies and big named authors latest books have not been as promising as I was led to believe. Luckily smaller publishing companies are finding some great stories and taking a chance on some new writing talent. R.D. Ronald just happens to be one of those talents and his novel The Elephant Tree just happens to be a really great book.
The Elephant Tree is not full of magic or demons, at least not the demons that quickly come to mind. Instead we have a dark present day psychological tale of a young man, Scott, doing his best to get ahead in the modern world. His childhood was shattered when his parents died and he has been picking up the pieces since. In order to supplement his income, he sells drugs in nightclubs in the hope that he will soon have enough money to get out of town and start over. He is intelligent and seems very real. He is joined by some interesting characters all which could easily jump out of the pages and come to life. If anything I would say that this is Ronald's greatest ability. He knows how to write characters. Everyone in the book is someone you know or could easily picture living in the real world. They all have a fair amount of backstory that is weaved brilliantly through out The Elephant Tree.
There is not much world building other than to say it was present day and that it could be any major metropolis. But I felt this was intentional, as it felt like it could by Anytown, USA or the streets of London. There was just enough information for you to glean when the book took place but not enough for you to pin down exactly where things were taking place.
The heart of The Elephant Tree is a murder mystery with an ending that many may not see coming. There is a lot of great psychological build up that all comes to a head at the end. I thought it was handled quite well. I had managed to figure out the big picture but there were still a few things that I did not discover on my own. A few people have mentioned Dean Koontz as a similar style to R.D. Ronald and I would disagree. I think Ronald is something new. He is his own voice in psychological thrillers and if this is his debut novel, I can not wait to see what comes next. While most of our reviews deal with magic and swords. Every once in a while you need to broaden your horizons and this is a great book to do just that.
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