Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Never Open Desert Diner by James Anderson

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A singularly compelling debut novel, about a desert where people go to escape their past, and a truck driver who finds himself at risk when he falls in love with a mysterious woman.
Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-travelled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert’s inhabitants, Ben's visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn’t opened in years.

Ben’s routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she’s fleeing something in her past—a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth—but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her.

As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who’ve laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire’s pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert’s greatest mystery—what really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?

In this unforgettable story of love and loss, Ben learns the enduring truth that some violent crimes renew themselves across generations. At turns funny, heartbreaking and thrilling, The Never-Open Desert Diner powerfully evokes an unforgettable setting and introduces readers to a cast of characters who will linger long after the last page.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (November 8, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1101906901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101906903

Overall, I'm giving this book 3 stars.  It was an interesting read, in that Mr. Anderson is a great writer. His writing style flows freely and makes it for a fast read. As far as 'easy read' I'm still doubting that.  I was half way through the book and still wondering what is the point for all that is happening. The story is not tied together until the very final pages. And that made it frustrating to me. It wasn't like it even built up to it. It was just blah in most respects. I read many great reviews about this book, but I'm not sure exactly what they saw in this book.  Like I said, 3 stars is what I give it. I think the book really had potential, but it didn't quite make it on my top 10 list for sure.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.