Posted by Ana Mardoll at Friday, March 04, 2011 Edit
by Josh Strnad
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pantheon / B003CV7T08
Two settings, two characters: Lamont, a quiet cowboy on the run from the law, who spends his nights in restless dreams in the wild, at the mercy of the elements; and Emma, a young woman leaving behind her mysterious past into the embrace of a frighteningly open and unsure future.
The writing here is nicely descriptive and colorful - little touches like Lamont's soggy bread in his soaked saddle bag, and Emma's mussed hair after a night in the sleeper car really paint the scene and setting for the reader. Indeed, this excerpt so far reads almost like a painting - there are so many little details about the colorful dresses of the ladies and the rain droplets on the train window - and all the vivid descriptions are evenly spaced out so that the reader is never overwhelmed by the scenery.
The characterization of the two main characters is also very nicely done, even if the characters may verge on the edge of stock types - nevertheless, good effort is made to characterize them as individuals rather than stereotypes. If I may make a suggestion, however, it would be that a little more characterization of inner thoughts and possibly even some details regarding what they are both running from might help the story seem like less of a slow-starter. It's not that the pacing is bad - I think the pacing is excellent, and the scene changes are well-done - but a little more characterization to fill out Emma and Lamont might help the reader see where all this is going and hook them a little more into caring about (and staying with) the protagonists.
I do love the writing style, though, and that alone would cause me to read more.
NOTE: This review is based on a sample excerpt of this book provided through the ABNA contest.
~ Ana Mardoll
View all my reviews
UPDATE: The author of "Pantheon", Josh Strnad, has kindly agreed to be interviewed here.