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Alphabet Rescue by Audrey Wood
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Blaze by Stephen King
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Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright
The Ride by Tom Brandner
Shadow-Below by Robert Reed
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Recovering Charles: 05/13/09

Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright is two stories in one novel. The first is the recovery and redemption of an alcoholic widower. The second is the son's quest to find his father in New Orleans the post Katrina aftermath. Charles Millward is the father, finally getting his act together in New Orleans and Luke Millward is his estranged son who is faced with the grim task of tracking down the body of a man he hasn't spoken to in years.

What Works:
Wright's descriptions of New Orleans are vivid, gritty and nuanced. He depicts the city before and after Katrina with an understanding that doesn't fall on the typical stereotypes. The characters who live there seem real and diverse.

The story of the collapse of the Millward family after the tragic death of Mrs. Millward's mother makes Charles's actions understandable. I also liked how Charles was able to find what he needed in New Orleans.

What Doesn't:
Large scale tragedies evoke a numbness in people and Luke's reluctance to come down to New Orleans after receiving the phone call makes sense but after he does finally make the drive he never comes out of that shell.

Luke as the protagonist and narrator of Recovering Charles should be driving the emotions of the novel. Except, he can't because he never seems to feel anything. He's bland, passive and boring. The final strike against Luke is the way he treats his long time girlfriend Jordan. His abandonment turned my disinterest in him to complete dislike.

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