Sunday, February 24, 2013
G39 Book Review of The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club by Duncan Whitehead
Author: Duncan Whitehead
Publisher: dog ear publishing
Type of book: Murder, relation to Hitler, lies, deceit, betrayal, hit man, dog-walking, widows, Savannah Georgia, secrets, mysteries, 2000s, dogs
Year it was published: 2012
Something is not quite right in the leafy Savannah neighborhood of Gordonston.
As the friends and fellow members of her afternoon cocktail club gather to mourn the death and lament the life of their neighbor, Thelma Miller, not all is what it seems.
When old friends vie for the attention of widower, Alderman and mayoral candidate Elliott, jealousies surface and friendships are strained. An old woman with a dark secret and an infamous uncle plots her revenge for a perceived wrong done over thirty years before, a once successful children’s writer with his own secret is haunted by memories of the past and aspiring model Kelly Hudd has just won the trip of a lifetime.
As secrets are revealed and history, both old and recent unravel, and an intertwined web of deceits and lies surfaces in the middle class neighborhood, a killer lurks and is anyone really who they seem to be?
An enigmatic European gentleman in South America, a young Italian count parading the streets of Paris and a charitable and kindhearted nephew recently arrived from India add to the remarkable assortment of characters in this story of intrigue, deceit and revenge.
What is the secret a recently retired accountant is trying to hide and just why did the former showgirl and attractive sixty two year old widow Carla Zipp really have plastic surgery?
A mysterious organization with links to organized crime, a handsome fire fighter who can do no wrong and a trio of widows with deep hidden agendas compound a story of simplistic complexity. As twists and turns lead the reader to a conclusion that they will not see coming and a sucker punch ending that will leave you breathless, the Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club’s top priority remains the need to chastise the culprit who refuses to ‘scoop’ after his dog walking sessions in their treasured park.
The characters are fascinating as well as textured and unexpected. For me also they seem to be more of told than show, although the author tries to make them the opposite. The women primarily dominate the book and author seems to understand them and the motivations, although in some cases he takes them a little too far. Dogs also appear in the book and they are portrayed as having desires and friends too. They are never there just to be there. The families and people are all different; Kelly and Tom are married couple without children and loving life; Doug and Veronica are married but they have a small daughter and financial difficulties; the other ladies, Carla, Heidi and Cindy are widowed, two of them childless while other has a son; Elliott Miller is soon to be widowed who was married to Thelma and decided to become father to two boys who turned out to be gay. The characters, in other words, are not who they seem to be and they will surprise you.
People are not who they appear to be. Never underestimate someone.
This is written in third person narrative from everyone's point of view. The author makes slight mistakes when it comes to separating who's thinking, as well as the info dump in beginning, when my preference is to parcel out information throughout the book. There are also slight repetition problems, and somehow the characters are written as more of told rather than show variety. Yet the plot twists really dominated my attention so I scarcely paid attention to these defects, which takes a skillful author to do it. Also, just a quick thing, Miller is not a Jewish name.
in Preston , The United Kingdom
Humor And Comedy, Mystery, Crime
About this author
Duncan was born in England in 1967.
After a successful career in the military where he served in British Embassies throughout South America and saw service in the Gulf War he joined the world of super yachts as a Purser aboard some of the world’s largest private vessels, working for many high profile individuals, being fortunate enough to visit some of the world’s most luxurious and exotic places.
Eventually retiring to Savannah, Georgia, he began to partake of his greatest passion, writing. Initially writing short stories he finally put pen to paper and wrote The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness of his new environment, the book, a thriller, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists, set in the leafy neighborhood where he lived.
His passion for comedy saw submissions to The Onion and a stint performing as a stand-up comedian.
He is a former boxer, representing the Royal Navy and an English under 19 team as an amateur and is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language as well as a former accomplished children’s soccer coach.
In 2011 Duncan returned to South America, spending six months in Brazil and a few months in Paraguay before travelling to the Middle-East and Europe before returning to the United States.
He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, gets by with Russian and Arabic and lists his hobbies and passions as cooking, the Israeli self defense art of Krav Maga, Esgrima Criolla (The South American Art of knife Fighting)and the deadly pressure point martial art Dim-Mak.
Duncan has written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for an assortment of web sites both in the US and UK.
As well as his other activities he performs volunteer work, as a hospice visitor.
He has penned a further novel; a comedy set in Manhattan, The Reluctant Jesus, as well as drafting the sequel and second book in The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club trilogy.
It takes a genius to write a book with mistakes, but for mistakes not to ruin my reading experience and give the author five stars. I was hesitant on that because I didn't want to seem fickle or whatnot, but when a book leaves me hungry for more, as well as seeing how the loose ends will play out in (hopefully,) the next two books, the five stars are well deserved. I won this book on December 30th, 2012 and received it on January 14th, 2013, with a business card of the book, an autograph a postcard and a funny note where the author mentions to say that the book is good for something, even if its used to swat flies. The author does make slight mistakes, such as slight repetition of sentences, or the info dump in beginning chapters about various characters that from time to time I had a hard time keeping track. Yet he certainly knows how to deliver punches when you least expect them. In beginning the book tends to be a bit slow, but then it rapidly picks up, and all I cared was how it would all end. I can imagine that the book would make a good mini-series on TV. Its like a guilty pleasure read; it doesn't have in depth writing, but instead its good to relax to. Despite the mistakes, I would recommend that one should try this book and perhaps they'll love it. I am looking forward to reading the next two books whenever they come out.
Quick notes: I won this book on goodreads.com thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)