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And the Rainbow Award goes to...

Dan Ackerman - The Things That Come

The Things That Come

"In the first couple of pages, when it turns out the main character is a murderer, I thought about not continuing on at all. But I did keep reading, and I read every word. The book is quite good. That first, horrible scene ended up quite moving. Granted, there were far too many typos and missing words throughout the book, but the writing style itself was so strong that I was willing to put up with it. The cast of characters was diverse—gay, bi, straight, men, women, white, black, and Persian. We had a Catholic, a Muslim, and others whose religion we didn’t know. Characters were stock boys, nurses, students, infants, and prostitutes. None of it felt forced. The diversity felt natural, with characters both happy and upset about the diversity. The most striking aspect of any of the characters was that of the main character, who was schizophrenic. I’m no expert, but I have a friend of thirty years who has schizophrenia, and the author created dialogue and behavior that seemed authentic. The main character is also a cutter, and I’ve known cutters, too. This behavior was also described in a realistic way. And I appreciated that these “faults” were not dealt with as negative, just problems to be dealt with. When strange or potentially sappy or cliché events happened, the author gave the characters realistic thoughts and dialogue that should keep most readers from groaning. I see from the list of other books by this author that they often write about paranormal characters. The relationship of two “investigators” who join up with the FBI to help the main character deal with regular assaults by “the things” is similar to the one in the TV series “Good Omens” (though it looks like this book was written before the series aired and does not seem to be an imitation). I personally would have preferred characters whose supernatural status wasn’t grounded in religion, but that’s just my own bias showing. We never do find out what “the things” are, but I do wish the author had come up with a more captivating title. It’s appropriate enough once you read the book, but I think the lackluster title might keep some readers from picking it up in the first place. The novel was interesting and entertaining, well worth my time. I think most other readers will enjoy it, too."

"The Things That Come is an engaging, character-driven paranormal story with well-developed relationships between the main character, his love interest and his best friend, and seamless, natural inclusion of diversity. Much of the narrative takes place between the paranormal events that are the main driver of the plot, so there is, for most of the novel, a darkness looming over David as he strives to both establish a 'normal' life and solve the crimes of the past that led his parents to take him away from his hometown. The central characters are fully fleshed out, the events are horrifying (but not overly graphic or gratuitous). I was rooting for David from the very first page. His portrayal, both as a bisexual man and someone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, is flawless throughout. The romance is touching and authentic to the context. My only niggle is that the resolution/conclusion to the paranormal element was a little rushed after such a long, well-paced build-up, but all in all this is an excellent read, and I'll certainly be reading more of Dan Ackerman's work."

"This one really shines. Chapter one opens at a blistering pace with loads of tension, and never lets go. The story was just great; propelled not only by dark revelations of high school secrets but also driven by the plights of David, and a cast of characters so real they all but jump off the page. The Things that Come is a beautifully written exploration of character and redemption. I highly recommend. "

Dan Ackerman - That Doesn't Belong Here

That Doesn't Belong Here

"That Doesn’t Belong Here is far and away the best story I’ve read this year. On the border of young adult and new adult fiction, this is the story of Kato, an ‘impossible creature’, and of friendship and love. It’s also a stark allegory for every inhumanity humankind commits against those deemed ‘lesser humans’ and animals. I truly struggled to put this down even to sleep, and I sobbed my heart, but this is generally not a sad story. There is hope and there is humour, and Kato is such a brilliant, optimistic character. Levi is his opposite in many respects, but together they are…byouiful. This is the second novel by this author I’ve read, and in both cases, the entire cast of characters is richly developed, the pacing is excellent, the plot is sustained to the end, and the ending…just perfect! Yes, Dan Ackerman has secured themselves another fan."

J. Scott Coatsworth - The River City Chronicles

The River City Chronicles

"I absolutely loved The River City Chronicles. The author acknowledges Armistead Maupin in the Foreword, but truthfully, I loved this book way more than Maupin. I figured out fairly early on where some of the plot points were headed, but it didn't matter. It was just lovely to be immersed in this world. If only this was 'book 1' then I could visit again and again."

A.M. Leibowitz - Keeping the Faith

Keeping the Faith (Faithfully Yours Book 3)

It’s been three years since Micah’s spouse, Cat, passed away at the age of thirty-six. In the process of cleaning his house, Micah discovers a series of letters Cat hid before he died, in which he made one request: that Micah empty his life of Cat as a way of moving on. Micah has been able to work through his sorrow, but he’s unable to fulfill Cat’s last wish. He can’t see a way past his loneliness despite all the caring people around him.

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