Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Review: 'The Man with the Black Belt' by Sandy Appleyard

The Man with the Black Belt by Sandy Appleyard

‘You get away from my granddaughter’

Canadian author Sandy Appleyard writes memoirs and romantic suspense. Though she has been actively writing since middle school she first found employment as an Administrative Coordinator for a large multinational corporation following her graduation from Humber College. Leaving her position for maternity leave in 2006 and she became a stay at home mom, writing memoirs about her family and her life as a victim of Scoliosis - and thus started the second career as a writer full time. Adding to Sandy's complex life was her husband's diagnosis of a rare and incurable autoimmune disease that robs him of energy and forces him to grossly limit family activities and constantly monitor his health. Now with her writing not only as a source of fascination but also as the source of income for her family Sandy has become active in not only the writing of novels but also in the marketing of them. `Writing is my full-time career and it's because of the unselfish support of my husband that I've been able to pursue my passion and my dream. Now it's my turn to give back to him.' She lives in Niagara Falls.

Sandy continues her `Meaningful Suspense Series’ with this Book 4 THE MAN WITH THE BLACK BELT is her nineteenth published book. This novel is based on a true story, a factor that makes its message even more pungent. Racism and cultural bias play a major role. As is Sandy’s style we meet the central character, Sam, in a setting that suggests the isolated feeling of a Native Indian lad as he attempts to relate to peers. Her opening chapter contains as much suspense as many a full book, and in the midst of the realistic mystery we very quickly grow to know Sherry and Denise and glimpse at least a dream of what lies ahead.

The author's synopsis is well condensed and without spoilers: `Born into a Native-Indian family, Sam Corrolla grows up in a community of racists. When their neighbour, Mr. Seamington, finds unfounded fault in Sam, the boy learns the shocking truth about what lengths people will go to out of prejudice. With a keen interest in karate, Sam joins a dojo with his older brothers, and the discipline soon becomes a love of his. Some of his peers can’t accept Sam’s unmistakable prowess, and the boy finds himself in a life-altering situation. Becky, among many females, finds Sam exotic with his caramel skin and long, ebony hair, unbeknownst to him. After winning Sam over in a deplorable manner, the young man is suddenly inserted into a new life; one that he wouldn’t have dreamed he would be living. When tragic loss sweeps over Sam’s life, he is forced to go against the one he loves, in order to save the only thing he has ever loved. Years later, as Sam drives to the dojo one afternoon, he grips the steering wheel as he witnesses a horrific scene. Sam has two choices: he can help those who have hated him all his life...or he can watch them die.’

Sandy knows how to get her story across very successfully. She has mastered the flavor of small town interpersonal reactions as well as anyone writing. Not only is this a fine story, it also carries important lessons about prejudice. 

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.

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