Saturday, February 3, 2018

Book Review: 'The Navigators' by Dan Alatorre

Author and humorist Dan Alatorre became a first-time dad at the age of 47 - a daughter by the name of Savvy. His comedic debut book "Savvy Stories" tells humorous tales about a loving dad who sees the magic in children, and isn't a bumbling stooge about changing diapers like some TV sitcom. Dan was born in Ohio, and graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida before earning an MBA from Tampa College and served with honors in two Fortune 500 companies. Dan, Michele and Savvy live in the Tampa area. Beware! There is a problem with reading Dan Alatorre's book - Savvy Stories Series: They are addicting. Few writers today have that keen gift for finding the humor in challenging situations and Dan has a secure place at the top of the heap for comedic writing. He knows how youngsters think, and better yet he knows how to appreciate their joyful outlook ...and wisdom. But alert! - Dan has other aspects to his writing talent, from the very tender book of insights and of course humor about a cardiac condition, the long QT syndrome in THE LONG CUTIE, to THE TERRIBLE TWOS (lessons learned from his daughter) to children's books and marketing books, to cookbooks, first in conjunction with others (35 MORE AMAZING RECIPES YOUR MOTHER WOULD BE PROUD OF, etc) and then his solo cookbook ALL AMERICAN FAVORITES. The binding element is his easy going lighthearted manner of writing while at the same time offering fine advice and some really delicious adventures in the kitchen.

But beware! Yet another genre Dan is exploring is present in this sci-fi cum time travel venture that bears that indelible stamp of Alatorre ingenuity. He maintains his inimitable humor when appropriate and scares the breath out of you when you least expect it. And everything is wrapped in this gifted writer’s accomplished prose.

The synopsis offered suffices to summarize the tale: ‘A freak landslide at a remote mine site uncovers a strange machine to Barry’s group of paleontology students. Wary of corrupt school officials, his team takes the machine home to study it in secret, reaching only one realistic - and unbelievable - conclusion: It was designed to bridge the time-space continuum. It’s a time machine. Testing delivers disastrous results, sending one team member to the hospital and nearly killing another. When word leaks about the discovery, the ultimate power struggle ensues: the university wants it for funding, the power company wants its energy regenerating abilities kept under wraps, and a rival group wants to steal it for themselves. No one cares if Barry's team comes out alive. Fleeing for their lives, the students must fight the school, the police, and each other if they want to learn the truth about what they've discovered - a truth with more severe consequences than any of them can predict.’

Unexpected other aspects of a talented craftsman surface here – and they are solid enough to push Dan into even more serious novels. Grady Harp, August 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. 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.