Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: Lost in Clover (Novella) by Travis Richardson

Lost in Clover (Novella)

Author: Travis Richardson

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Synopsis: Welcome to Clover, Kansas, a small town sitting in the middle of America’s Heartland. It's a peaceful community, until the night that high school student Jeremy Rogers accepts an invitation to party with the “cool” older kids. After things go irreparably wrong, and Clover is thrust into the national spotlight, Jeremy keeps his involvement a secret. As the town heals from the tragedy, Jeremy falls into a psychological abyss from which he cannot escape, until he encounters the monster from his past and has an opportunity to redeem himself.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Review: There are moments in life that irrevocably define who you become and the decisions you make thereafter. Every moment you live, that defining moment sits in the back of your mind on instant replay the second you really start to think about it. That is Jeremy Rogers life story in Lost in Clover.

Jeremy is a fifteen-year-old kid the night his innocence is stripped away and his life changes forever. After spending the day, working on a roof, he heads out to a BBQ with some of the guys he attended high school with. The conversation veers to Eddie Cooper, the boy who towers over everyone in town and has ruined the dream of many of the boys on the football team by causing them massive injuries on the field. Jeremy’s buddies have been festering for years in their anger, resentment, and bitterness. Drunk and with fierce determination, they set out for Eddie Cooper’s house with revenge on their minds. Almost to Eddie’s house, a sudden overwhelming feeling overcomes Jeremy. He knows the guys want to scare Eddie but with the rifles, bats and two by fours they’ve brought along, he isn’t so sure things are going to turn out so well. Jeremy ducks out of going but before he does he makes the one mistake that will haunt him for years: he gives the rest of the boy’s the address to Eddie’s house. None of them had ever been, only Jeremy, once for Eddie’s birthday. Jeremy has a moment to realize that if he doesn’t tell them then they’ll just head back home out of frustration, but he gives in to his fear and just as he’s heading home, gunshots blast through the night air.

Lost in Clover is well-written and carries a steady pacing throughout the entirety of the story. The story starts off gradual and throws the reader into a night of cold blooded violence. You’re instantly left hungering for more and desperately wanting to know how the trial of Crazy Eddie Cooper will play out. The trial was one of the best aspects to Lost in Clover. The tension, the anticipation to what the end verdict will be, the way the women swoon over the out of town lawyer for Eddie, and the constant fear Jeremy feels that he’ll wind up in jail like Eddie because he can’t stop blaming himself for his friend’s death for having told them where Eddie had lived.

The ending was also well done. As the novella got closer to the ending and Jeremy finally comes face to face with Crazy Eddie Cooper, the suspense was tight and well set up. It’s the final confrontation between the boy who has spent years haunted by the memory of a mistake that cost lives and the boy who could never escape the tragedy and pain of his past. The last chapter was a bit cliché but it was nice to see Jeremy starting the journey back to discovering himself.

But Lost in Clover is not without its flaws. Much of the characterization is nonexistent. Readers get in depth look into Jeremy, more than any other person, and the self-destruction he goes through as the years pass and he is unable to forgive himself for the mistake he made. Eddie Cooper is also a character that readers get more in depth access to but not nearly as much as a reader would like. Eddie, even though his past and broken family is shown in the story, still remains much of a mystery. I would have liked to have heard from him why he committed the horrible act that shocked a small town and nation.

There are secondary characters but none of them were really of any use and since none of them had any real depth, and many fell into the category of clichédom, the reader never really cares about them. I kept wondering why they were placed in the story. After the trail was over, I had no idea why the story continued for as long as it did. It started to drown in details and characters that didn’t matter in the least. The world building was pretty much nonexistent as well. There was no buildup of the town, so readers are left to imagine a generic looking town full of ignorant, easily swayed town folk. There was also a good deal of repetition. It’s understandable when it concerns Jeremy’s character since it’s used to show the sameness of his life and how that has stripped him of self-esteem, hope, faith in himself, but it started to become too much after a while.

Overall though, Lost in Clover was a well-build story. It’s a story that will make you think better of the decisions you make and how they affect not just your life but those around you. It’s a story about how life can beat us up sometimes and the journey to finding your way back.

About the Author: Travis Richardson was born in Germany, raised in Oklahoma, and currently lives in California. He has worked over 20 jobs in fields ranging from hot dog vending to television post production to university fundraising. His novella Lost in Clover came out in November and he has a story in the anthology Scoundrels: Tales of Greed, Murder and Financial Crimes. He has a few short stories published online as well. He also writes screenplays and directs short movies.

Where to Find the Author

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