July 29th, 2018

Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Weekly Book Review

A week or so ago I posted the newly written review of Lost by Harland Eastwood.  Just noticed that it fell into place alphabetically with the reviews I've been posting from the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  So now I'll move on to the next couple of books reviewed there. (Sorry, I don't have a cover shot for the first one.) As the first review was written and posted several years ago, it is possible that any information concerning price, availability, or author contact information may no longer be valid.

The Man in the Closet

By Michael Andrew Marsden

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         When Kyle Carraher’s family moves from Washington, D. C. to Wallace, Idaho, his fear of large rodents gnawing through the wall is replaced by dread of the man in the closet.  Over the subsequent years, the supposed presence in the upper floor storage room exerts unusual influences over members of his extended family.  Eighteen years later Kyle returns to the house to determine if there really is a man in the closet.

         As it begins, this book reads like one intended for a younger reader.  The straight forward writing clearly depicts extraordinary events in what were quite ordinary lives.  As the story progresses, darker, more sinister, more adult themes are introduced, taking the tale to a level meant for a more mature audience.  When one reaches the final page, murder, arson, sex for sale, sex as a means of coercion, and criminal insanity have all made their presence known.  Each chapter takes the reader to greater heights of suspense and increases the “can’t put it down” factor.

         The Man in the Closet is the author’s second ghost story set in north Idaho, and is pleasantly devoid of many of the faults associated with self-published work.  In all aspects it is a well-written, well-edited, and professionally produced book.

         The Man in the Closet, from Marsden Publishing, ISBN 1-59975-485-1, is priced at $16.00 and is available at local Spokane, and Coeur d’Alenebook stores and at www.amazon.com   Check out the author’s web-site at: www.michaelmarsden.com


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Reviewed by Joyce Caudel

         Marie’s Marvelous Tomato is a delightful story of a young girl’s summer project. Marie and her best friend, Ginger, have planned a summer full of excitement. When Ginger announced her parents were getting a divorce and she must move to Seattle to live with her grandparents, Marie’s summer plans all vanished.  Marie felt very sad for Ginger because her own parents divorced years ago and she lost touch with her father.
         Marie is a girl that loves to eat tomatoes and suddenly she comes up with a plan for her summer project, she will grow a tomato plant. She plants it with care and tends to it daily. Finally, a small green tomato appears on her plant.  It is the only tomato on the plant, but it grows and grows into a giant tomato! Marie’s family encourages her to enter her tomato in the fair.
         The judges agreed, Marie’s tomato was the largest tomato entered in the fair but it had the best shape and color.  Marie was given a blue ribbon for her successful summer project.
         The story ends very happy when Ginger announces her parents are getting back together and she won’t have to move to Seattle. Marie receives a letter from her father saying he missed her and her brother and would like to come to visit them if it would be alright with her mother. Marie was very happy, she had her best friend back and was going to get to know her father.
Reviewed by Kate Poitevin

         This is a delightful story about Marie who is faced with a lonely summer. Her best friend, Ginger, is gone, Mom is busy with her work, and stinky brother, Mel, is no help at all. Marie decides to grow a tomato plant to fill her lonely time. Through the ups and downs of horticulture, Marie stays focused on her task and loyal to the helpless plant she has vowed to tend while also keeping in touch with Ginger. Ms. Hildahl has created great characters (I was especially fond of the grandmother…) and a sweet story that will charm any age. It has a satisfyingly happy ending, as all children’s books should, with an added surprise.