Review By KEN KORCZAK
Solomon Mayfield is 87 years old and running out the time clock on his life in a Texas small-town nursing home. Maybe it’s not surprising for a man so near the end of his life to see the occasional ghost come drifting through his room to float eerily over his bed. But for old Mr. Mayfield, seeing ghosts has been a regular occurrence since he was 12 years old.
The circumstances surrounding what triggered this special ability are at the heart of the plot of THE GHOSTS OF VARNER CREEK
This is a first novel for MICHAEL WEEMS, but he writes like a novelist with far more experience. His writing demonstrates the understanding that the best fiction is based on character. Yes, a truly great book needs more – plot, background, premise, conflict – all that stuff. But if you are able to create vivid characters and make the reader care about them, you’re more than halfway home to a great read.
Mr. Weems manages that and more. He wrangles all the elements of long-form fiction together sufficiently here to make for a fine novel.
So as the title implies, The Ghosts of Varner Creek has the restless undead as a central premise, but this is a very different kind of ghost story. It involves events that happened in a turn-of-the-century southern Texas, cotton-farming village that is still a few years off from getting electricity or them new-fangled “horseless carriages.”
Young Solomon’s father, Abram Mayfield, is a no good, violent drunk who only married Solomon’s mother, Annie, after he practically raped and impregnated her. Their subsequent life, as you can imagine, is not exactly one of marital bliss. To add heartache and pain to the whole situation, Abram and Annie’s first child is afflicted with Down Syndrome. Against this background, Solomon, a year younger than his mentally challenged sister, is doing the best he can to get along in a family that is isolated and dysfunctional, to say the least.
But how did all this ghost business get started? That’s what you have to read the book to find out — and few will be disappointed at the skillful way Weems cobbles, crafts and weaves together a story that is dark and gut-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting and hopeful.
This book has been recently available free as a Kindle selection, but as of this review, it is being offered for 99 cents – more than a fair price for a terrific read.
Join Ken For His Adventures In:THE STRANGE UNIVERSE OF DR. 58