Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review: The Needles Highway (Short Story) by John Stewart Wynne

The Needles Highway (Short Story)

Author: John Stewart Wynne

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Synopsis: The Mojave Desert. The heat of the noonday sun.

A lonely stretch of highway.

A screenwriter enjoys a nostalgic visit to his childhood home of Needles, California.

But now it’s time for him to leave that simple life in the desert and drive back home to L.A. and the lure of Hollywood. The highway isn’t crowded—he hopes to make it home in time to join his wife for dinner. But apparently fate has a different idea.

He suddenly finds himself being chased by a skeleton in a pickup truck who holds a terrifying secret that will change his life forever...

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Review: Jed Ackerberry is heading home to his wife Dana after having gone to visit his father. The day is beautiful and the drive is calm until a truck pulls up alongside him, revealing a skeleton as the driver. Jed thinks he’s losing his mind and takes a detour by driving into a ghost town where he meets a woman from a Mojave Indian tribe. She informs him she’s walking to the grave of her father to pay her respects and Jed offers to give her a ride in order to put some distance between himself and the pickup truck that was following him. But the woman isn’t as innocent as she looks and Jed’s life isn’t exactly as it seems.
The Needless Highway seemed to be a mixture of the movie The Ghost Rider and Stephen’s King short story, Sneakers, learning more toward a lackluster plot as The Ghost Rider with only subtle moments of interest. I did enjoy the world building aspect to the story, painted vividly enough to capture the reader’s attention. The scene in the Wagon Wheel closer toward the end was probably the best scene in the story. But not much else stood out. There was too much long winded dialogue filled with details that didn’t offer any type of progression to the plot or suspense. Jed also had the annoying tendency to state the obvious and dictate what was happening in the story. The ending seemed to come from left field and didn’t really fit the feel of the rest of the story. Perhaps The Needless Highway would have worked better as an extended novella or a full length book.

About the Author: John Stewart Wynne (aka John Wynne) is an American author of fiction. He is also aGrammy-nominated producer of spoken word recordings. He has written the novelsTHE RED SHOES and CRIME WAVE, the short story collection THE OTHER WORLD, and the chapbook THE SIGHTING. “His writing has been praised for its audacious originality,its beautiful imagery, the astute asides and wry observations of his characters, and his highly charged but often darkly comic mise-en-scènes. He has been hailed as the heir apparent to the tradition of ‘outsider art’ exemplified by Tennessee Williams, Carson McCullers and Truman Capote.”
Wynne’s poetry has been featured in The American Poetry Review and numerous other
poetry journals. His controversial long narrative poem Two Struggling Actresses, about an
actor consumed by the personality of Jayne Mansfield, appeared in The Paris Review.
His short fiction was published in High Risk 2, Christopher Street and John Calder’s New
Writing and Writers series, among other publications.
He is currently at work on a new novel.
Wynne is also the producer of over one hundred audio books. They range from William
Styron reading his Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness to John Waters reading his Shock Value, and from James Patterson’s Kiss the Girls to The Great Gatsby read by Christopher
Wynne produced John Kennedy, Jr. reading his father’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Profiles
in Courage which was nominated for the Grammy Award as Best Spoken Word or Non-
Musical Recording.
Wynne served as liaison and Executive Producer with Lucasfilm for a series of Star Wars CDs, worked with Scholastic developing dramatized, multi-cast audio productions based on Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-sitter’s Club series, and developed a Batman series with DC Comics.
Wynne himself was nominated for a Grammy Award as producer in the Best Spoken Word
Album for Children category for The Magic School Bus: Fun with Sound, featuring Lily Tomlin.
He is the author of the first popular guide to spoken word recordings, The Listener’s Guide to
Audio Books (Simon & Schuster).

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