Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: 'Serenity Engulfed' by Craig A. Hart

Iowa author Craig A. Hart is both a writer and an editor: he has served as editor-in-chief for The Rusty Nail literary magazine, as manager for Sweatshoppe Media, and director of Northern Illinois Radio Information Service, an outreach that brought daily news and information to the visually impaired. His works have been published in The Orange Room Review, Voices, The Stray Branch, Red Poppy Review, The Mindful Word, Inclement, Right Hand Pointing, 7x20 Magazine, among others. In addition to writing fiction Craig has published self help manuals on writing and critiques of other writers’ works. SERENITY was the initial installment in a series he calls The Shelby Alexander Thriller series. – SERENIITY ENGULFED is a very fine fifth installment in a series that grows in importance.

Craig has a fine grasp on character development, and when he launched a series based on a main character (Shelby Alexander) he realizes it is even more important that we get to know him quickly and watch his development grow so that the series can maintain our interest and secure our addiction Craig supplied that in the first installment and in this book he sets in motion the grisly deed that is the focus of the novel – the crucial fact f missing his own child and how that dynamic alters everything about Shelby’s work and thoughts.

The plot as, as usual, well summarized by Craig: ‘Familiar enemies resurface in this blazing new thriller that finds Shelby racing against time to save the most important person in his life: his own child. When Shelby's daughter, Leslie, fails to show up at his cabin for her long-planned visit to northern Michigan, he's concerned, but makes excuses. When her car is found abandoned by the side of a tree-lined highway, he fears the worst. When her cellphone appears on his front porch, he knows something terrible has happened and that he is to blame. Enlisting the help of the new county sheriff, Shelby launches a search for Leslie, all the while dealing with a prostitute in fear for her life, a sexy writer interested in writing his life story, and the long-banished ghosts of his own past.’

All the ingredients are there, but it is the chef’s hand at mixing them that makes this novel so successful. This is a bite out of Middle America, bursting with flavor and atmosphere. The book is relative short – making for a fine evening’s read. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, March 18

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

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.