Author: Chris Knopf
ISBN: 978-1-57962-1898-8, Pages: 305, $28.00, Publication Date: May, 2010, Hardcover, Thriller, Published by: The Permanent Press
Authors who have written a series of books have a tendency to keep the same characters, locale, and a sameness which translates into a single dimension of their ability as a writer. Chris Knopf in “Elysiana” steps out of that safety zone into a new realm which showcases his ability to develop new characters, describes a South Jersey ocean front island, and captures a interesting dimension by interweaving various characters who could have been stand-alone-heroes, heroines, or villains. Unlike his private eye Sam Acquillo, who has been the mainstay of Knopf’s writing to-date, “Elysiana” showcases another side which grabs your attention within the first few pages.
The summer of 1969 is when all the action takes place in this fast-paced novel. Knopf introduces one of the main players in this summertime adventure at the Jersey shore as a strung-out Midwestern gal who wakes up in Elysiana, a 25 mile long island, located south of Atlantic City. Gwendalynn Anders becomes the connection between the good guys and the bad ones. Without attempting to have her become the entire focal point of the story, Knopf moves from one character to another by developing their individuality as players in this beach thriller.
A mayor’s scheme to become the only governmental leader of the island, various underworld drug dealers, and the owner of an oceanfront hotel are all connected in the storyline. Combining all these individual pieces into a believable conclusion is what makes this novel stand out. The ability of this author to describe in accurate detail the interaction of everyone as they traverse the island makes this novel realistic. You are swept up in currents of the ocean, smell of the salt air, and the taste of the briny waters while walking among the sand dunes. Some books and television series have recognized life on the shore as different from any other place in the United States. Here, we have a truism, which is universally accepted by those who have been exposed to events which transpire along the ocean frontage known as the Jersey shore.
Young adults who live along the shore, or lived there and moved away, fondly recollect the great times they had. Youths dancing, drinking, and all that goes with the partying will quickly rekindle those wonderful memories of walking boardwalks, seeing rides, eating food, and most of all, the sticky, clingy, sand which permeates everything, including floor mats of cars.
This book will be hitting the books stores in May and is a good adult read for the summer of 2010.
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