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Shadows of the Past, Richard Schiver (M27)

World Reading Circle

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1mirrani
Apr 14, 2012, 12:35am Top

For a while I wasn't sure if this book was about the devil, some kind of alien creature, or some unknown lifeform that was like a myth or legend of some sort. Once I got past that confusion and just settled into the story itself, willing to accept that I would work it out on my own, in time, I enjoyed reading.

Here are the notes from Shadows of the Past

No exchanges, no returns, death was a permanent part of living.

Time was a strange creature, he knew. Before you were aware of what was happening, it passed, and you were left wondering where it had all gone.

Here, death strode the halls every day. IT watched over the shoulders of attending doctors and nurses, waiting with anticipation for the next newly released soul to come unto it. Here death was the norm, it was anticipated and prepared for. From here the only next stop was the morgue. No patient ever walked away from the hospice unit.
I had forgotten how well written this is and was about to give it an introduction when I realized it didn't need any. Having been to a hospice unit myself, visiting family I know this feeling too well and I can say it's a thought that goes through your mind as you're experiencing the place.

This needs some introduction... The little boy who has suffered brain damage as a child and can hardly experience the world with any form of clarity is wandering the hospice and hears somehow in his mind "stay here" or something of that nature... He turns to the sound and finds one of the patients...
The stroke had left her paralyzed on her entire left side. Her mind was frozen in place, locked upon a single second of time, A brief moment in which she had been told to "stay here."
I thought it was interesting to make it this way, to get a look into the thoughts of someone who was still thinking, but not at all able to think at the same time... The idea that that moment of time was trapped in her condition with her was interesting to me.

Ghosts were nothing more than memories that have escaped their bonds.

The professor remained in his study as Sam and Dave found their own way out. Sam stopped at the door and looked once more into the gloomy interior of the house. A little sunshine would go a long way towards making this a happier place. Get rid of the shadows. Only memories and fears ever hid in the dark.
More nice wording, deeper thinking than you think it is. You have to go back and read it again to go beyond "oh, this is set up for the shadows to get him" and into "wow, there are other meanings there and they're good."

"Why not? If God created the universe and formed man in his image, what would he want with a bunch of aliens?"

"But what about the alien's God? What's to say an alien God didn't create a world populated by beings in his image?"

I liked this idea, I enjoyed this very, very short conversation on the topic and I couldn't help thinking that Star Trek had touched on this once somehow. Still it's a moment that makes you ponder who could be right. All the same god? Different ones? What is the reality of that situation?

To go with the above, a few lines down, when Sam rejects the conversation for making his head spin...
Sam didn't need aliens. He had his ghosts to keep him company. The memory faded.
I understand that he is still grieving, but sometimes the grief comes across way too much in the story and takes away from itself after a while. Liked the line, but there's a lot of thinking just like it elsewhere.

"Sloan! Sam's shock became disbelief, "Sloan couldn't pour piss froma boot if the instructions were on the heel. What's he gonna do, bore the suspects with his psychology crap?"

"Help me," that voice whispered int eh emptiness beyond the reach of this flashlight. So close, yet so far away.
I started to get flashbacks from the song after a while, this line was used so much. Yeesh. It was mildly frustrating.

I'm sorry, your mother passed away this morning.

I'm sorry, the tests have revealed a tumor.

I'm sorry, there's been an accident.

The phone sat at the center of it all. Carrying both good news and bad, its ring never differentiating between the two. An instrument of death and sadness that resided in almost every home in the country. Never thought of until it rang.

Loved this section. Very true and really made me feel the reality of it.

This section below comes after the main character, Sam, is wondering why this bad guy won't break the glass of the car window to get at him.
Jack was no more than an animal now. The man had been reduced to the most basic of thought and action. He could be defeated.
I just didn't buy it. I couldn't believe that his animal instinct would /prevent/ him from bashing in the glass to grab and kill this enemy he had made... Don't bears break into cars if they can manage it, just to get food?

Once inside he was not only protected from the chill, but the interior of the shed acted like a time machine, transporting him back to a happier period in his life. Insulating him from what was happening beyond its seasoned walls.
I liked the idea of walking into a building and reliving the past, happy memories and sad. This part was well written for the reader to experience that, or at least I thought so.

He started to walk back and check it when his foot struck an object sticking out from beneath the generator mount. It was a wooden box, the word Flares, spray painted on its side in red paint. With his foot he shoved it back under the generator, then checked the fuel tank. Just as he thought. It was still full.
Excuse me, but /is/ it a good idea to put /flares/ near a generator? Yeah... didn't think so.

Sam struggled down the slope, using the trees as handholds, stopping every so often to get his bearings. A person could become lost in this forest even in the best of times. In a snowstorm it was possible to wander in circles for hours while passing just a few yards from their destination.
How is this? For a while at least you'd be able to recognize your own tracks in the snow, wouldn't you?

Time was wasting. He'd better get moving. Sam glanced at his watch and noticed that only a few minutes had passed since he'd come into the shed. IT reinforced the sensation t\hat time held no meaning within its walls. The shed was a magical place full of memories of good times that would never be again.
I liked it the first time, but by this point in time in the book, the repetition of some themes, no matter how touching at first, simply gets /old/.

And that's all my notes. I'll put up a review of the book when it's not after midnight. ;)

3cedargrove
Apr 15, 2012, 3:18pm Top

I heard some of this while I was in the car with you, and couldn't help but wonder at some of the questions and the points you have raised here, myself.

4RSchiver
Apr 22, 2012, 1:56pm Top

Thank you for your honest, thoughtful, review.

5mirrani
Apr 22, 2012, 2:13pm Top

You're very welcome. :) I love to do it.

6RSchiver
May 8, 2012, 10:57am Top

If it's not too much trouble would you mind posting your review on Amazon? If it is that's no problem, I understand.

7mirrani
May 8, 2012, 8:32pm Top

Yes, I have a whole list of reviews that I need to send to /all/ of the book places... And I've had issues with poisonous infestation of spiders and hot water heater meltdowns and all sorts that have kept me from being able to sit down and multipost to the various sites. As soon as I have one free day where I can sit and copy and paste to site after site, I will do that. It has been my plan all along, it's just taking me a /lot/ longer than I had hoped. :p

8RSchiver
May 8, 2012, 9:39pm Top

I see, when real life calls we listen or pay the consequences. I understand completely so take your time.

9mirrani
May 10, 2012, 9:09pm Top

Well we /seem/ to be settled now aside from random vet stuff... so in the next few weekends you'll see it up. :) Sorry to take so long... but the up side of taking so long is that the reviews will go everywhere I can put them. I'm meticulous that way.

10RSchiver
May 11, 2012, 5:57am Top

Not problem and thank you, I appreciate the time you've put into this. We've dealt extensively with the random vet stuff as well, being as one of ours is our problem child.

11mirrani
May 13, 2012, 3:43pm Top

Ours (the vet has now concluded) began as a black widow bite... resulted in a gaping wound that won't heal and surgery to /try/ and get it to heal. It's been an ordeal, to say the least. Rats aren't easy to care for, but at least they heal fast or this would have been much worse!

I have posted all my LT reviews to Amazon. That's all I had time for this week. Plan on B&N next week. Between those sites and goodreads (where they are already posted) can you think of anywhere else the reviews should go? I never use B&N but I've had some requests to post there, so that's why I chose that... otherwise all the sites I use have been covered, so I'm kinda walking blind from this point on regarding review posting. :)

12RSchiver
Jul 23, 2012, 6:33am Top

Forgive me for not responding to your post sooner. Between writing and working full time things tend to get away from me and I lose track of time. B&N is entirely up to you, I feel you've done plenty, and have gone above and beyond expectations.

Again I appreciate the time you've put into this.

I hope your pet problem has been resolved. We recently learned the major problem with ours is tumors in the lungs that keep him from breathing freely. They could be removed with surgery, but they'll just come back, so we've been using medication to shrink them in the interim, when that stops working we've decided that it would be best to ease his pain by putting him down. The vet feels that time is only a couple of months away so we've been preparing for that.

13mirrani
Jul 25, 2012, 7:12pm Top

We just had one with a brain tumor last month... The long walk to that final appointment for an injection was a very hard one indeed. I hate to see you or anyone else go through that, but when you do get to that point it /is/ what is best.

Glad I could have been of help with the review. I just love to read, so the "work" of reviewing and such... that's not work at all for me. :)

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