Author: James Anderson
Part of a Series: Never Open Desert Diner is a prequel
Type of book: Utah. Highway 117, mysteries, secrets, desert rats, truck driver, thriller, intriguing background, mysterious family members
Year it was published: 2018
Ben Jones, protagonist of the glowingly reviewed Never-Open Desert Diner, returns in a devastatingly powerful literary crime novel about parenthood, loss, and the desert in winter.
Winter has come to Highway 117, a remote road through the Utah desert trafficked only by oddballs, fugitives, and those looking to escape the world. So when local truck driver Ben Jones finds an abandoned, mute Hispanic child at a lonely gas station along his route, far from any semblance of proper civilization, he knows something has gone terribly awry. With the help of his eccentric neighbors, Ben sets out to help the kid and learn the truth. In the process he makes new friends and loses old ones, finds himself in mortal danger, and uncovers buried secrets far more painful than he could have imagined.
Main character includes Ben Jones, a half Native-American half Jewish truck driver who seems to be either picking up pieces or else seems to shut off from the world due to a tragedy alluded to in the previous book. He simply wants to survive and seems to not be interested in his customers' secret lives, often rejecting information that could help reader put facts together. He is a survivor, resourceful and closed off as well as loyal and someone whose scars run too deep. Other memorable characters include a preacher on the run who is carrying a cross across the desert, then other numerable desert rats and different visitors who make a stop in Ben's life then they are on their way.
One never knows the path they will end up at
The story is in first person narrative from Ben Jones' point of view. While the characters were quirky and memorable, as well as the setting, there is something that seemed to lack in the book or something that didn't really grab me. I'm really not sure how to explain. Maybe its because I wanted to know more about Ben's background, especially the half-Native American half-Jewish and how he ended up the way he did. I also wonder why I didn't feel tense at tense moments and why the story had a dreamy sort of quality when in fact there are a lot of moments that would classify it as a mystery/thriller. Basically also, the whole action takes place in several days.
(From the book)
James Anderson was born in Seattle, Washington, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a graduate of Reed College and received his MFA in creative writing from Pine Manor College. His first novel was THE NEVER OPEN DESERT DINER. His short fiction, essays, poetry, and reviews have appeared in many magazines, including The Bloomsbury Review, New Letters. Solstice magazine and others. He currently divides his time between Colorado and Oregon.
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Here are some elements I really enjoyed reading when it comes to LULLABY ROAD by James Anderson. One is the intimate knowledge of the highway 117 and lives of Desert Rats that live in there. There is flair for memorable characterization, and I think its one of the first times that I actually read a book that takes place in Utah. I also enjoyed the setting and getting to know Ben Jones, a half Jewish half Native American truck driver as well as people who surround him. What I didn't enjoy is the fact that Ben doesn't seem to be interessted in getting to know the residents that he delivers goods for, and I also wasn't aware that this book is a sequel to NEVER OPEN DESERT DINER, which is referenced a lot in this story. From reading LULLABY ROAD by James Anderson, I imagine that this is not a stand-alone book.
This is for iRead Book Tours
BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:
Oct 22 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
Oct 23 - Olio by Marilyn - review / author interview / giveaway
Oct 25 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
Oct 26 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review / giveaway
Oct 29 - JBronder Book Reviews - review
Oct 29 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
Oct 31 - Truly Trendy - review
Oct 31 - Corinne Rodrigues - review / author interview /giveaway
Nov 1 - Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus - review / giveaway
Nov 1 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / giveaway
Nov 2 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
Nov 2 - Books for Books - review
Nov 2 - Jessica Cassidy - review / giveaway
TBD - Writers N Authors - review / giveaway
TBD - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review / giveaway
TBD - Rainy Day Reviews - review / author interview / giveaway
3 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.)