Sunday, November 12, 2017

Book Review: 'Crazy Blood' by T. Jefferson Parker

Are things like jealously, greed, and craziness inherited? Are some people just born with crazy blood? That’s the question when half-brothers Wylie Welborn and Sky Carson set their sights on beating the other at the Mammoth Cup skiing competition. But which one will come out on top? Will slow and steady win the race or will the day be won by sheer audacity?
Wylie Welborn was once on top of the world. Now, upon his return home after a long stint in Afghanistan, he’s finding himself at a loss, trying to rebuild the life he’d had before. He’s a complex and interesting character, one I enjoyed very much, in spite of his struggles and inner demons. Although Wylie is content to ski and help out his family, when the chance at love comes around, he throws himself all into the opportunity. I found it interesting how, even though he was the illegitimate son of the town’s patriarch, Adam Carson, said patriarch embraced Wylie with open arms. It was a refreshing approach to an age-old situation. Even Adam Carson’s oldest grandson, Robert, treated Wylie like a brother. Adam’s younger grandson, Sky, on the other hand, had nothing but vitriol for Wylie.
Sky Carson is everything Wylie is not. Although an excellent skier, he’s headstrong, arrogant, and reckless. Aided and abetted in his hatred by his mother, the jilted Cynthia Carson, Sky makes it his mission to drive Wylie out of town, but not before he beats him at the Mammoth Cup. Despite the fact that practically every scene with Sky made me seethe with anger and frustration, I honestly felt awful for the kid. His mother was pregnant with him when she caught her husband cheating – of which Wylie was the result – and therefore spent the first thirteen years of his life without his mother. But the way he internalized all of his mother’s ‘crazy blood’ left me feeling out of sorts at times.
Crazy Blood is a sit on the edge of your seat kind of novel because you never know what kind of crazy is going to crop up next. Even though I have very little interest in competitive skiing, the descriptions were exciting and described in a way that even a novice could fully envision them as they happened. There is one serious twist near the end that caught me completely by surprise and stuck with me long after I finished the novel.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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