The Contractor [Book Review]

2020, Book Reviews, By Year

Book Name: The Contractor
Series: The Fellowship Trilogy Book: 1
Author: David Scott Meyers
Book Type: Physical > Paperback
Obtained: Review Request
Pages: 302
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Crime, Suspense
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to me, by the author, in exchange for a fair and honest review. The fact that the book was given to me did not alter my ratings/judgement of the book in any way. All opinions in this review are of my own.

Book’s Amazon Page >HERE<
Author’s Website >HERE<
Book’s Goodreads Page >HERE<

🥡 Book Review To Go Please!! 🥡

The first book of the Fellowship Trilogy, this book sets in the fictional town of Fellowship, Tennessee. Elias Morgan is the descendent of one of the first settlers, the farm belonging to his family even before Tennessee was a state! But now the farm is in need of repairs and it’s pretty hard to keep up maintenance when you’re getting old! Morgan hires a contractor to help sturdy up the barn, but he soon disappears during construction.

This book was a pretty good book. A quick read, I managed to power through it in a few days, always eager to see the next scene and chapters. I was intrigued in the beginning and I was intrigued to the end. Things happened that I wanted resolved but the book ends up on a cliffhanger (sort of).

The writing is VERY interesting. This book is heavy on dialogue with two separate times where a single character went into a 6 page speech describing two different memories. The book seems to divide into two separate “arcs” of sort where the beginning revolved around Morgan and the hired private contractor and the second half revolving around the town’s deputy.

The book has interesting font that took a bit to get used to, but was refreshingly new to read and actually made it easier to fly through the story. There are lovely drawings in the book to help with imagery, illustrated by the author’s daughter, Hannah Nicole Meyers and the drawings made me realize how much I missed reading the books I read as a kid. Those always had plenty of pictures to go around.

A good read and looking forward to book two, this one gets a 3⭐️

The book was illustrated by the author’s daughter, Hannah.

🍽 Book Review for Here! 🍽

The first book out of my reading and blog hiatus: The Contractor by David Scott Meyers. The most captivating part about this book was the fact that there were pictures (illustrated by the author’s daughter, Hannah Nicole Meyers). While there are some adult books out there with a few pictures in them, I don’t come across those books often and it took seeing these illustrations to realize just how much I’ve missed reading books with pictures in them. Part of a trilogy, “The Contractor” is the first book of the three taking place in the fictional town of Fellowship, Tennessee with two main POV characters and another minor but just as important character.

The author, David, discussed in his preface, how the book came to be. Knowing that he had written a screenplay for another film, David’s brother, Jeff, had gone to him with another idea for a script. Several handwritten pages of notes later, the foundation of what eventually became “The Contractor” was born. I don’t usually read the preface page of most books. I have a tendency to skip everything until I reach either the prologue or the first chapter of the book. For this book, however, I ended up reading the entire preface explaining how “The Contractor” was started and written. I think having read that the book started out as a script idea helped me through the book because I’m going to end up talking a lot about the interesting writing style here. 

I noticed a few things going into the book. The font, first of all, was bold and popped right out at you. The change up of fonts from the traditional sets of writing fonts to something so…different took a little getting used to, but man it made reading a lot of fun. Heck, even middle grade books aren’t written in fonts like these and it helped make “The Contractor” really stand out. I feel like the font was part of the reason I managed to fly through this book when I was already going through a tough month. 

The Font

Then, there were the pages and pages of dialogue and monologues or memory scenes. I counted one dialogue, where a character was telling another of what their relationship was with each other. While it started off as an exchange between the two men, it eventually ended up being roughly 6-7 pages of one man’s story as the other laid there listening. There was, however, a couple of brief sentences (about five) to break up the speech.

Again, only two chapters later, we have the same man telling a waitress another story; one of how he finally bested his long time bully in one thing, when a woman had chosen him over the bully and how she eventually became his wife. At this point, I just sat there reading and going, “Man this guy sure likes to talk. Like. A LOT.” 

But I chalked it up to his character. The man doing all of this talking is Elias Morgan, the story revolves around him, a contractor, and the town deputy. Old and lonely, his wife having passed only 6 months ago, Elias doing a whole lot of talking was only natural. 

The only other reason I could come up with, in explaining the heavy dialogue/speeches, was because the book started out as a script idea. When I’m thinking about scripts (at least for me), dialogue and single-man speeches come to mind easily. There was a bit more of showing versus telling and when I wrap it all up, it does indeed feel a bit like a script where actors are given dialogue to read out loud with actions and cues to nudge the direction of where the scene is going. It made for an interesting read.

The most interesting moment came in the beginning of the book when there was a quick character POV change from one character to another in the middle of the same paragraph before returning to the initial character’s POV in the next paragraph. It was the strangest thing and it threw me off for a bit. 

The book, as promised, was a quick read. I was able to fly my way through the book. The writing style was interesting, the plot made me angry (the ending annoyed me), and honestly I wanted to get through the book as quickly as I can to see if retribution and justice would be served. I was disappointed to be left on a cliffhanger so I guess we’ll just have to see in the next book what happens. 

All in all, it was a pretty good book that I devoured in days. There are books that just feel slow and ten pages feel like a hundred while other books go by with a hundred feeling like ten pages. “The Contractor” was the latter and I just wanted to keep flipping just so I could SEE if what I wanted to happen was going to happen (like every mystery book I was painfully wrong. This is why I’m not a detective ah haha). However, unlike the rest of my favorite mystery thriller books, in which cases are usually solved by the end of the book, this is a trilogy. Who knows? Maybe I’m right about my list of sketchy people by the end of the third book!

There wasn’t much I was unhappy about. The font was pretty cool and different from the rest of [literally all] of the other books I’ve ever read and it felt kind of refreshing (albeit needing to get used to it first). The writing is the thing that really pops out at you. The characters felt a little rushed (I can’t explain it. It’s just a feeling). The writing was full of dialogue and twice did a man just go into a speech, talking about his memories (breathe Elias breathe!!) and there was that weird POV change mid-paragraph. 

At the end of the day, the writing wasn’t such a bad thing. It just made for an interesting and new experience. 

David, thank you for a great read. I’ll be sure to check out the second book when I have the time! 

Now, time to refill my coffee mug. Toodles!

Storm Front [Book Review]

2020, Book Reviews, By Year

Book Name: Storm Front
Series: Virgil Flowers Series Book: 7
Author: John Sandford
Book Type: Physical > Hardcover
Obtained: Library > Borrowed
Pages: 376
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨ (3.5)

Link to Goodreads >HERE<
Link to Amazon >HERE<

Goodreads Summary

In Israel, a man clutching a backpack searches desperately for a boat. In Minnesota, Virgil Flowers gets a message from Lucas Davenport: You’re about to get a visitor. It’s an Israeli cop, and she’s chasing a man who’s smuggled out an extraordinary relic — an ancient inscribed stone revealing startling details about the man known as King Solomon.

“Wait a minute,” laughs Virgil. “Is this one of those mystical movie-plot deals? The secret artifact, the blockbuster revelation, the teams of murderous bad guys? Should I be boning up on my Bible verses?” He looks at the investigator. She’s not laughing.

As it turns out, there are very bad men chasing the relic, and they don’t care who’s in the way or what they have to do to get it. “They’re crazies,” she says.

“What kind of crazies?”

“Palestinian crazies, Syrian crazies, Egyptian crazies, maybe a couple of Israeli crazies. Turks. Some Americans, too, I suppose. Maybe the Pope.”

Perhaps Virgil should start praying.

Review

Moving on to the next book in the Virgil Flowers series, I found myself reading Storm Front; book 7. Like with every book (and most products when I go shopping), I made sure to take a quick peek at the reviews, first, and wished I hadn’t.

Storm Front was written by John Sandford who had mentioned that this novel was written with the help of his partner, Michele Cook. That alone, I had absolutely no problems with until I came across a couple of reviews that wondered if the book was even written by Sandford. I ended up going into this book with a “different set of lens,” ones that had me constantly looking for moments of “Is this Sandford’s writing? Is this the Virgil I know and love?”

That said, I ended up enjoying it anyways. I didn’t even know what I was so worried and worked up over. By the end, I was even disappointed that I questioned anything. While I did get a sense of “Virgil seems more on edge this time around” compared to all the previous times he (and others) have been in serious danger, I chalked it up to him being very angry over Jone’s actions throughout the book, considering his role as a professor and a minister. Weren’t ministers supposed to be good and not cause harm…?

The BCA agent had been working on a fake antique lumber case when he was called in to investigate a dying runaway Lutheran minister and professor who had found and later stolen an ancient stone, a stele, from an archaeological dig in Israel. Jones had grabbed the stone [in the middle of the night] sped down an Israeli highway [in a stolen car], pretty much threatened his way into landing a boat ride and then managed to smuggle the stele into the US where he remained in hiding. All Virgil wanted to do was track the stone down, send it home to Israel, and continue with his lumber case. A simple thief and smuggling case, how hard would it be?

Except things are never that simple with Virgil Flowers; his luck simply would not have it. Dying from cancer and knowing he had a short time left in this world, Elijah Jones had stolen the stele with plans on auctioning it off to the highest bidder so that he could obtain enough funds to cover for his wife, who is residing in a care home with Alzheimer’s, after his death. Now, not only do the Israelis want the stone back, but with the discovery of the stele, it’s what’s written on the stone that’s important. If what’s inscribed on the stele is true, history could be upturned and would need to be rewritten and there are people who aren’t going to just sit there and let that happen.

When Davenport starts the call off with “Got an assignment for you…easy duty” you probably shouldn’t believe it. It was wild from the beginning to end; “Don’t things like this only happen in movies?” kind of wild. With plot twists sprinkled in, this book is fast paced and I found myself occasionally lost and having to flip back to understand what the hell was going on and what the hell just happened. There are multiple parties involved, most of them being the bidders: A Texan, some TV celebrity of sorts, a pair of scary(ish) Turks, Hezbollah, an Israelis antique dealer, and maybe even the Israeli intelligence agency.

The plot, boiled down, is really just chasing after Jones, and the stone, making sure nobody else gets their hands on the stele, and making sure nobody gets hurt. Get the stone, send it back, and get back to lumber business.

The book was pretty humorous at times (considering the stakes and people getting hurt). There were bits of comedic relief in between all of the craziness that I appreciated. It made the book fun to read and get through. The plot and storyline may not have been my favorite, but by the time I finished I was well surprised. I had gone in expecting it to be as bad as the reviews made it out to be but ended up being disappointed in myself for thinking so at all. Virgil, even if he’s a bit more tense, is still the same old Virgil that I love. There wasn’t much of his usual womanizing this time around, which I found as strangely relieving, but his humor and quick thinking remains the same. Virgil being Virgil? That’s all I care about. That’s all I NEED when reading a Virgil Flowers book.

Not my favorite book in the series, but still a highly enjoyable read. I can’t wait to get into book 8.