Title: The Connection
Author: David Billingsley
A stranger appears...this town will never be the same. Again...
Not much happens in the small West Texas town of Dinley, and radio DJ Sandy McAllister is fine with that. Following the tragic loss of her husband and son, she's carved out a steady, solitary existence. No more deep friendships, no more love, no more loss.
But a loud boom on the outskirts of town followed by the sudden appearance of a stranger is about to upset Sandy's carefully scripted life. His mysterious arrival on a warm summer evening coincides with the eruption of addictive and powerful feelings she cannot control or deny. And she's not the only one.
The bond, the connection, with this stranger threatens to turn her life inside out and polarize her town.
And it's not the first time this has happened in Dinley.
In the tradition of Billingsley's previous books, The Connection is an emotional ride with a few twists and turns, but this time with a little sci-fi thrown in...
The Connection could be about a stranger or about two strangers. This book could be about Sandy and her shattered life. It could be about secrets and lies. This book could be about the truth. The Connection is certainly about a distinct lack of people getting what they deserve.
The character of Jake is messianic in the way his arrival stirs intense passion and makes men want to crucify him. A reader can't read this book and not truly feel ‘What's Past is Prologue’ is behind the tempestuous drama. The book presents Sandy with all her heartfelt woes. The reader comes to hope that Sandy can find peace but not just through drugs and alcohol. The utter lack of true support from anyone is startling. The failure to provide even a glimmer of hope or closure for Sandy is almost irresponsible by the author. The reader invests their time in caring for Sandy and the ending leaves a dry taste in the mouth.
Those who think crazy right-wing armed nut bars committing crimes with no consequence is a good thing may enjoy this book. You are only as good as you are on your worst day. The men in this book are just simply wastes of humanity. The entire lot of them needs to be hit in the ribs with a 2x4 for eternity. The lack of a proper Old Testament judgment on every male not related to Jake is severely lacking.
The character of Sandy helps to illustrate once more how hard grief can be for people. To suffer a huge loss can be debilitating. For some, it can be six months of suffering before they can take a step forward. The Connection would work better as a dystopian novel. The reader could then be comfortable in a place that is completely unlike modern-day life.
My Rating: 4 stars
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David Billingsley is a writer who has spent most of his life in Texas and the American West. He has published four books. His interest in writing stems back to 2001 when he challenged himself to write a novel based on a scene he witnessed in a small West Texas town. After leaving it on the shelf for many years, that novel, The Connection, turned out to be his fourth and latest book (also his favorite).
His first two books, The Redemption and The Switch, have been out and selling well for several years. Full of twists and turns, mystery, romance, and suspense, all three novels will leave you guessing with surprise endings.
His third book, The Five O'Clock Follies, was a completely different endeavor. Co-written with Vietnam veteran Richard Brundage, the funny and emotionally powerful novel is set in the Vietnam War era. Think MASH in Vietnam, except at a media press center.
When David's not writing, he'll be out photographing the West.
His goal: To write "just a good book" for his readers. Reading should be enjoyment, not work.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N