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One Red Thread by Ernie Wood

One Red Thread

by Ernie Wood

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Wood, Ernie
One Red Thread
Tyrus Books
978-1-4405-8273-8, hardcover, 336 pgs., $24.99
May 2014

If you could go back in time, would you? Would you change events if it were possible to do so? Intervene to prevent a tragedy? Should you? Courage, noble sacrifice or hubris? How would you determine which specific link in the chain to alter, which thread to pull to alter the pattern without the whole tapestry unraveling? Is it even healthy for us to understand “too well” the relationships between those threads? I am mixing my metaphors. Remember the Butterfly Effect. The perfectly chosen epigraph to Part I of One Red Thread is from Ecclesiastes 3:15 — “Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before.”

One Red Thread, a handsome book, is Austin writer and journalist Ernie Wood’s ambitious and accomplished first novel, taking on no less than time and space as well as history and the slippery nature of truth. Eddy McBride is a fortysomething architect much given to introspection and obsessive observation. He calls his defining habit “wool-gathering.” I call it navel-gazing that leads to analysis paralysis. “I can’t resist trying to make sense of how the world works. Find some meaning. And I can’t keep my sticky fingers out of the trouble that my searching sometimes brings. Unintended consequences.” The mysterious appearance on his front porch of Walter Lee, the elderly yard man who used to work for the McBride family, and the unsettling homecoming of Libby, a childhood friend, set the stage for a tragic and interwoven family history to come alive once more.

The main characters of One Red Thread are complex while leaving room for development — or regression as the case may be. There are times when you will doubt the reliability of each of the narrators (“These may have been real events, real memories, or real made-up stories.”); however, their various motivations seem genuine. Their distinct voices provide multiple first-person narratives, vividly presenting their divergent experiences and interpretations of, and reactions to, the same events in this intricately plotted and fast-paced story.

One Red Thread is a hybrid of mystery, horror, and the metaphysical that had me thinking Stephen King, Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour, “The Twilight Zone,” and Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Seriously. Wood hooked me in the prologue and never lost me. He has created a challenging novel of psychological suspense with an atmosphere of pervasive foreboding. The sense of acute disturbance is all the more powerful because it remains nebulous almost until the end. The ending is satisfying in explanation with just the correct amount of tease and creeping unease.
Remember your Faulkner. “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” ( )
  TexasBookLover | Aug 18, 2015 |
One Red Thread by Ernie Wood – This is a time-travel book about an architect and his family and friends who try to change their lives by altering the past, which is certainly an acceptable time-travel premise. Unfortunately for me, there are far too many pages of boring dialogue and boring thoughts from the characters, and very little gratifying action and accomplishments in this book. I did not find this book to be engrossing, but others might enjoy it. ( )
  clark.hallman | Feb 14, 2015 |
As an amateur genealogist, history buff and fan of time travel stories, I am jealous as hell of Eddy McBride. The forty-something architect and main character in Ernie Wood’s first venture into fiction writing has an ability that I would kill for. His knack for paying attention to the details of the world around him has allowed him to slip into the past and experience events from his own past and from the lives of his family. One Red Thread deftly captures a world where people can, by attuning themselves to the sensory input about them, revisit events from the past. Wood deftly uses this device to spin a fascinating story that is told in reverse as Eddy and others go progressively further back in time, each time solving one mystery and uncovering another.

I enjoyed the story immensely and recommend it highly but I must admit that there were times when I found Eddy’s character pretty thick-headed and, had I been there, I would have had to resist the temptation to smack him upside the head. ( )
  Unkletom | Jan 24, 2015 |
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When architect Eddy McBride, a fortysomething self-absorbed noticer of details and self-appointed seeker of truths, stumbles upon a way to visit, watch, and ultimately participate in events from his family history, he finds answers to long-ago tragedies and mysteries. But each time Eddy returns to the present, he unleashes the unhappy consequences of exploring history on his family and friends. And as Eddy's knowledge of the past grows, he turns from curious seeker of truths to frantic fixer of mistakes-present, past, and by those from the present who would change the past-as he follows a devastating trial of hurt, disappearances, and death.… (more)

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