||May 1 2002
Velvet Sky is an engaging novel about four beleaguered children that are coming of age in a small Mississippi town in the 1970s. The book follows their trials and tribulations as they learn to trust each other in the face of love, murder, abuse and self discovery. The writer has conjured up a world of memorable characters that take you on a winding journey of the heart and the soul.
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Chelsea, Patrick, Kelly & Chase are about as different as four children can be, but circumstances quickly bond them together for a friendship that will last them their entire lives. The book ties together the inner longings and personal hurdles each child faces as life moves them into adolescence.
The book is about basic human survival in every sense... physical, emotional and spiritual. The story begins in a small neighborhood of old paint flaked antebellum homes where a small girl (Chelsea McCormick) finds herself literally running for her life. The book ends many chapters later with a riveting confrontation on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico where one life is lost and another is reclaimed.
This book is an emotional voyage into a time not so far ago. Sandwiched between the death of J.F.K. and the Reagan 80s this slice of Southern Americana is the perfect setting for four innocent children to emerge from their seemingly sheltered worlds.
Velvet Sky is a poetic reminder that we all have needs... needs we even sometimes hide from ourselves.
a fascinating ride from beginning to the very end
Title: Velvet Sky
Author: Rusty Van Reeves
Within the boundaries of a small Mississippi town, four young children come of age during the late 1960's and 1970's in this intriguing novel of love, murder and vengeance. While I am not 100% sure how to categorize this book, the effects of murder, prejudice and loathing run deep within the pages.
Young Chelsea McCormick has never forgiven her mother and baby brother for abandoning her when she was five years old. She has endured years of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her sadistic father. Her torture finally culminates when the town makes a shocking discovery, one that puts her father behind bars, but he is determined to make his daughter pay for her "revelation".
Patrick Williams grew up next door to Chelsea. His friendship with her never faltered, but as he grows older his eye wanders to another girl in the neighborhood, Kelly Dawson. As they enter high school, Patrick and Kelly finally find their friendship becoming serious. However, Kelly's ex-boyfriend is not as willing to forget about her. He is determined to possess her, no matter the cost.
Chase Morton knows the hardship his mother faced raising him alone, but he is certain they were much better off without his no good father. As he enters his teen years, Chase must hide a secret - he is gay. As a gay teen in the 1970's prejudice runs high. When his father decides to enter their lives once more, he learns the truth about his son, and would rather kill than have an "imperfect" child bearing his name.
Rusty Van Reeves paints a stunning portrait of the lives of these children as their lives are ripped apart by tragedy. While each handles their dilemmas in a different manner, their actions are extremely believable. Packed with suspense and action, VELVET SKY is a fascinating portrait of life within this small town.
Though at first, it took some getting used to the pace, I rapidly grew accustomed to the switching back and forth between characters. A couple minor grammatical typos also caught my eye, while they in no way affect the story, they did catch my eye and take me out of the story for a moment. Better proofreading on the part of the publisher will easy remedy that problem in the future.
Regardless of those picks, I recommend VELVET SKY to all readers. It is a fascinating ride from beginning to the very end - including the "Where Are They Now" after notes that complete the tale.
Reviewed for The Romance Readers Connection
Reviewed June 2002 by,
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Reader Reviews for "Velvet Sky"
|Reviewed by Carrie Hampton
|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!
|Reviewed by Bill Stephens
|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.
|Reviewed by Phil Tomasso, author of Tenth House and Third Ring
|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