Keep It Safe

A Kevin Review: Inside the monsters of “Evol”



Evol by Jess Wygle just finished its month long book blog tour (thanks to Reading Addiction Blog Tours).  Before we announce the winner of the BookRix Giveaway ($100 Amazon gift card, an Evol t-shirt and a BookRix Sampler pack of eBooks), there is one last thing that we need to do: A Kevin Review.

Evol is completely entertaining, a very well written, exciting, interesting story and I recommend it to everyone.


I thought I knew more or less what to expect from Ms. Wygle having read and reviewed Keep It Safe which I enjoyed very much. I was unprepared for what I encountered in Evol though. Apples and oranges. First, Keep It Safe is very short comparatively and while it’s kind of the same voice, this is clearly another level and another trip altogether. Seems while I was off busy with other stuff JW was off “wood-shedding” i.e. honing her craft. One has to wonder if she’s been signing papers down at the cross-roads (kidding). Chills and thrills are just the least of it! Holy…Okay, Uh…Evol is completely entertaining, a very well written, exciting, interesting story and I recommend it to everyone. It is also however, a very disturbing story upon which I will comment in a minute.

Story: Precocious young woman of 24, living the life she loves, acting, singing, practicing almost to the point of excess, diligently gathering and perfecting the tools of artistic interpretation like a hunter in sober, thoughtful consideration. (Completely different than Parker from Keep It Safe.) Working hard and keeping up with the required good living to sustain it; the love and company of family and friends, good food and drink. Working in a small theater in West London. Awaiting next week’s debut of a musical in which she’ll mark the fulfillment of one of her career objectives, the portrayal and her interpretation of Christine Daae in The Phantom Of The Opera musical. A role she’d been waiting years for, scored. In love and engaged to be married. It’s a good time to be Venna, the world is her oyster.

With Luke, her fiance, who was recently promoted from sous chef to head chef at a restaurant, busy with the selection and training of his replacement, he drives her to her parents’ house to say good-bye and to have some alone chill time at the house while they go off to her father’s retirement (from the US Marines) dinner with the President and his family in the USA…(One can only wonder what kind of infamy Dad is actually retiring from?) One of the underlined items on mom’s packing list was to pull out the guilt-tripping and brow-beating stops to get Venna on-board to forego her Phantom opening and go along with them. Fat chance. Nope. Dad supports her choice on it too. She’s definitely Daddy’s Girl, but there’s such a nice, sweet mother-daughter relationship there…and the birds were singing…this happens.

One thing especially noteworthy (for me anyway) is how Venna didn’t cave-in or surrender her principles for a second and in the end even sought refuge in the knowledge that as painful as it was to endure, that it would most certainly end, eventually.

The dialogue about whether she should get pregnant before or after the wedding and Luke’s “thoughts” about it is just hilarious. Ah yes!, “Instincts win out” Hahaha! (Our species will survive despite this kind of eloquent blunders, I say. Barring some other catastrophe like…accidental self-annihilation by the military…) Then Venna’s well considered retort; “You make a valid and awfully convincing point. But we need to wait. It’s only a few more months. I promise.” Hah! An “old school” upbringing. There’s no lack of this stuff in her writing now and it really takes you right there. A good tight, colorful yarn, full blown. The banter, like that with mom over her priorities regarding the trip, the typical homey stuff and the attention to the accouterments of “home”, comfort and things we always notice but don’t always have time to bring up in the moment; the waft of flavors on the air upon walking right in through the unlocked front door of the house that “..was and would always be her home”, the music Dad’s listening to while writing out whatever secret military report he’s typing, dating him (his age) and shining up his ex-pat buttons (or medals). Jim Croce?! 70s.

There are so many items and characters I enjoyed in the book I’d like to make mention of but let’s face it, it’s not a short book so I’ll move on to the aforementioned thread.

Now. She’s been in the same theater regularly for 12 years, and met Merrick when she started. Ironically, hers was the dissenting voice among the people there concerning the strange behavior of the seemingly autistic, unofficial stage manager/set-builder/handyman who creeps out most people including her fiancé and her best friend. Merrick. Not a small or weak looking “chap” and easy on the eyes apparently, yet, he was still an easy target for cheap jabs (envy?) with his non-existent social skills and what seemed like a fear of looking people in the eyes. Still, Venna always felt that somewhere deep in there was a someone unworthy of such disdain and ridicule. Well, there’s always at least half a point in intuition.

In the time it took for Merrick to finally bring his plan to life and fulfill his…intentions that morning, we find Venna’s perceptions are drugged away in a blend being first lost and then found. The perceptions of the experience where she finds herself omitted.

We find consciousness safely on the other side of harms way after Venna’s been found. Once again we’re spared the details of what really happened before the fast-forward and held, captive, as the truth and girth of the insanity and the madness trickles in kernels of cautious recollection and conclusions…to summations. I loved it! After first feeling I’d been taken advantage of and forced to wait (not unlike Luke) ;D ..or when I’d felt l’d achieved a something like a complete idea of what had happened, I remembered wondering how one could possibly lay out all of that in “a session” anyway. It’s probably a very human tendency to want to somehow disassociate from such a nightmare too, however impossible it might be and Venna’s reluctance to discuss what really happened; what he’d most certainly done to her, with anyone as well. Of course, how easily can one explain how another human could be responsible for such terror. For one unfamiliar with the atrocities of war, it’s a lot of info to process.

One thing especially noteworthy (for me anyway) is how Venna didn’t cave-in or surrender her principles for a second and in the end even sought refuge in the knowledge that as painful as it was to endure, that it would most certainly end, eventually. Kind of a superhero of a character frankly, enduring such torture with the kind of resolve usually reserved for righteous, underdog patriots spitting victory, knowing they won’t live to regret refusing the opportunity to traitorously cave-in to their captors. Inspiring awe, admiration and respect from every normal person privy to an inkling of it. Especially in Lane.

Because I’m an American I know I’m predisposed (via societal conditioning) to receiving admonishments of the necessity to fear and mistrust and to expect ruin should I fail to heed xenophobic warnings of foreign entities promising unprovoked and senseless violence upon everything I hold dear and how such fiends should be (as they often are) isolated and “put-down” like the mad, rabid dogs they are. What other experience can perfect a mind-set capable of creating this kind of psychological terror as a means of reasoning and negotiation than the dehumanization necessary for war? That in the quest to understand the hows and whys of her ordeal, Venna has come to see through to the “other side”, where the madness makes a certain kind of sense; that he merely wants what poor, “…depraved on account of he’s deprived…” lunatics like Merrick see glimpses of but never participate in. The training received. Their history. You are what you eat.

The loving imprisonment and violence meted out for her own good, which is implicitly “the greater good” with sweet words of endearment, the promises of the end of the pain….amazing stuff. It is almost too believable.

The visceral accumulation of the facts of torture and the effects left behind have in Evol become an intellectual accumulation and along with Venna we see a widening glimpse of a side of humanity we keep telling ourselves in an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ way, doesn’t or just barely exist. They’re rendered to the “necessary evils” category and kept out of polite conversation. Y’know even the idea that the barbarism of “military actions” could be somehow necessary. I mean, she presents the answer for the “whys”. For her, in the moment it’s simple. The training.

That this individual represented by the character has been corrupted as a human by his “line of work”, been trained not only to cause pain, kill and maim but being trained to willfully cause such fear…I know of it because I’ve read about it. I know it’s real and it’s this fact which I find distrubing. Okay, I don’t read books as an excuse to write essays to answer such questions for me or anyone else BUT, I had a nerve struck. In a world where we’re explained how this kind of brutality is necessary and yet we’re answered by a sweet, gentle character in a novel and told that inside that monster there is a hunger for the warmth of touch, for the closeness of intimacy and love that is being confused by the power and permission to commit acts which take it all away.

There are many other reasons to read this wonderfully entertaining and very touching book and I sincerely hope that people read and see what a vision springs from Ms. Jess Wygle, The Vigilante. Just kidding again! It’s scary to think she’ll be ever better the next time. (Shudders!) Don’t miss this one!

- Kevin

Check out other books by Jess Wygle by visiting her BookRix Profile Page! To see the BookRix review of Evol, click HERE. For more reviews, check out the Evol Tour Schedule.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Kobo
Barnes & Noble
iTunes

BookRix Blog Tour – Stop by for great GIVEAWAYS!




BookRix is hosting its first book blog tour, thanks to the help of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and BookRix author, Jess Wygle. If you don’t already know about book blog tours, I’m here to get you in the know. Basically, it’s just like a real book tour, but instead of sending the author and the book to a series of cities in the span of a month, we are sending Jess Wygle and her book, Evol, to 20+ book blogs between today, February 22nd and March 24th. Each stop on the tour will feature one or more of the following:
1. A book review – to get readers interested in the book, and to give everyone a better understanding of what happens in the story.
2. An author interview – to learn more about Jess and her writing.
3. A guest post - with something fun written by Jess on an assortment of topics.
4. A PROMO – to, well, promote.

There will also be giveaways (at almost every single stop!) offering prizes like $10-$25 Amazon gift cards, free eBooks, t-shirts and the final big giveaway from the BookRix blog will be a $100 Amazon gift card and an assortment of eBooks. Basically, you’re going to want to follow Jess around on her tour and you’re going to want to buy her book.

This is the best way to show your support for indie authors (like yourselves) who are trying to promote their self-published books (like yours) and live the dream (which is the same as yours)… I think you know where I’m going with this. Tell your friends and help us make our first blog tour a successful one. Who knows, you might be the next one chosen to go on tour?

Visit the tour schedule by clicking HERE. The BookRix stop is on Monday, February 25th. You’ll also find that some of your fellow community members are hosting at their blogs.

Books by Jess Wygle:

















A Kevin Review: Keep It Safe



The BookRix Team is filled with fun and interesting characters, so we decided to invite a few into the blogging inner circle to write some book reviews. Here is the third one, written by Kevin: Keep It Safe by Jess Wygle (jesswygle)

This “shortie” reads fast and tense, punctuated by a few short breaths and some panting. I imagine our heroine, Parker, is aged probably mid to late 20s. She’s been recently orphaned and widowed. (in the last 3-4 years perhaps?) After another incredibly exciting day at work…not, she swings her Malibu onto the highway, engages the auto pilot and just zones-out / heads to her small town, Iowa abode and the company of the only family she has left, her aging doggie. Then in the pitch darkness she glimpses something in the air for a mili-second before it bounces heavily off the hood of her car. Upon examination she finds the bouncer is human, very broken and handing her a small object along with the request that she hides it, keeps it safe, and that it be given to no one, and then, he exhales his last. It’s on.

In a flash Parker’s life switches from routine boredom to blinking, open-mouthed amazement and she ponders what might’ve happened had she left just a minute or three later, “…I would still be so naive and oblivious to the evils and wrong-doings in this world.” According to Jess Wygle this is the first book she’s finished yet her ability to grab the shirt collar and sweep us along through Parker’s wide-eyed, naïve bumbling discoveries is impressive.

Even the introduction of the Witness Protection Program and the mob which seem like ‘filler matter’ in the context, (…end of Goodfellas..does that apparatus still exist?) is kept relevant with the dreaded ‘instantaneous localization’ and murderous thugs who are also highly skilled hackers and appear with quick shock and surprise. Way cool.

I’m missing the development of the romance which keeps almost happening but then it’s probably just like Parker to misread the cues and awaken in bed at 3:34AM and suddenly realize the missed opportunity and exclaim: “Oh!” LOL! I like this character a lot.

All the background information coloring and defining characters usually served-up straight at the beginning of a lot of novels I’ve read, which is usually awkwardly bludgeoned into the first few pages, is not there and frankly, not missed. Funny. Whether left out purposely or not we’re left with more wiggle room for the imagination, like different people looking at the same painting, and what’s wrong with that? I think there’s more to be developed in there, with or without Parker. We can go out and talk about it later, I have her number. I’m looking forward to reading more from Jess Wygle. Congrats Jess!

-Kevin

Want a taste of Jess Wygle’s writing? Come and check out some of her free short stories HERE!
(Also, for those of you having trouble with cover design – take a look at Jess’ covers because they are simple, and yet fantastic.)

Write a novel AND win $500? Yes please!




Vigilant One Championship 2013 – User Group Contest

Wanna be a champion? Who doesn’t? The Vigilant One, a great member of BookRix, is REALLY hard to impress and has a contest of his own up his sleeve. Think you can impress him? Write the novice novel that will make YOU the Vigilant One Champion and be the one and only to win $500 cash!
Your entry better be polished, your style unique and your story original or you won’t make the cut!

Guidelines:

* This contest is open to all BookRix members and is free to enter.
*Entries must be a complete book with a discernible beginning, middle, and end, and have a creation date of Oct. 1, 2012 or later.
*You can only enter once so make sure that it’s your best work.
*Your book must be a minimum of 5,000 words and must contain original cover art. No translucent BookRix titles and stock photos.

How to Enter the Contest:

* Submit your story in the contest entry thread, when it opens, in the I Love BookRix Writing Contests group between Dec. 13, 2012 –March 1, 2013, 11am EST, 4pm London Time/GMT.

Member, vigilantoneful, will decide on the one winner to be announced in the “I Love BookRix writing Contests” group in the following months.

Remember, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE CHAMPION!!!

100% of the prize funds are sponsored by member, vigilantoneful.

If it is decided that no entry is worthy of the title, the prize money will be increased and the championship may restart.

If you have any questions please contact member: Vigilantoneful

Please click HERE to visit the contest page.


Need some inspiration for your own novel? Here are a few completed novels (each longer than 5000 words) for you to read:

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Grab the BookRix Button

BookRix Between the Lines

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BookRix Between the Lines

BookRix Blog Buddies

Reading Addiction Blog Tours Me, My Shelf and I Parajunkee Design When A Southern Woman Rambles