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The last time he saw his father alive, Jackson David Kendrick was only nine years old.
The gray light of dawn was seeping in between his bedroom curtains when Jack woke to find him standing in the doorway. Dr. David Kendrick was a willowy, spectacled anthropologist at the University of Chicago. His black skin and wide brown eyes gave him a youthful appearance, but the flecks of silver frosting the edges of his hair made him look more distinguished and professorial. So people who didn't know him could never tell if he was twenty-nine or forty. But this morning, his normally thoughtful eyes looked weary as he sat on the edge of Jack's bed.
"Sorry to wake you so early, but my flight leaves at seven thirty."
"Where are you going this time?" Jack sat up and asked through a husky yawn.
"Out west," his father said. "Some field research on an old Indian legend."
His father had often explained the kind of work anthropologists did, but all Jack really knew was that he was gone more often than not. Always traveling around the world to study some obscure ancient culture. He said he was trying to learn more about them—who they were, where they had come from, and why they had disappeared. But Jack had always felt there was something in particular he was searching for. Something that continued to elude him. Most of the time he would come home from his trips looking tired and disappointed.
"What kind of legend?" Jack persisted, figuring that if he kept peppering his father with questions, he could keep him from leaving as long as possible.
His dad stared out the window for a moment. In the shadows, Jack thought he saw hesitation in his eyes, as if he was pondering exactly what to say. "One about a very old civilization that I believe actually existed out there. A long time ago, before most of the other tribes had even migrated to this continent."
"Who were they?"
"Well, that's just it—nobody knows for sure. One legend says they built a whole subterranean city under a mountain somewhere. And that they may have been very advanced ... maybe even more advanced than the Egyptians."
"Very cool." His dad grinned. "Anyway, it's kind of a mystery I've been working on for a few years now. So if I can find some proof that they actually did exist ... well, it could change most of what we know about human history."
"Change it how?"
His father laughed and rubbed Jack's hair. "I'm on to you, kiddo. I'm running late, so we can talk more about it when I get home."
"Fine," Jack huffed. "Are you gonna be back for my soccer game on Saturday?"
"I'll try, but Aunt Doreen's bringing her video camera just in case."
Jack's shoulders drooped. His father's sister had moved in with them after Jack's mother died in a car wreck six years earlier. It wasn't that he disliked his aunt—indeed, she was the closest thing to a mother Jack could remember. It was just that his father had missed five of his last seven games, and watching Aunt Doreen's shaky video footage wasn't the same.
His father stood to leave, but Jack clutched his wrist. "When can I start going with you?"
His father looked down and sighed. "Maybe when you're a little older."
Jack groaned and lay back on his pillow. "You always say that. But you never say how much older."
His father gave a soft chuckle. "Just a little more than you are now."
He kissed Jack on the forehead and slipped out of the room. Jack listened as he collected his bags from the hallway and carried them out to the car. A minute later the engine chugged to life, and Jack ran to the living room window as the car backed out of the garage. He watched his father drive off down the street, turn the corner, and disappear.
Excerpted from BECKON by TOM PAWLIK Copyright © 2012 by Tom Pawlik. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted June 1, 2012
Oh. My Word.
Okay, this book officially freaked me out!
Before I say anything else about this book, be forewarned that if you are squeamish about creepy-crawlies (like me!) then this book is going to have an even bigger impact on you! Not in a bad way, mind you…only that you’re probably going to pretty jumpy during the reading of Beckon. I know I sure was! (There is a hilarious story about my run-in with a fly while reading this book…but I’ll forgo telling you, since this IS a review. :-)
I had no clue what I was getting into when I picked up Beckon. The synopsis was very vague and, really, all I knew was that it was a suspense (which is why I decided to give it a try). Boy, is it a suspense alright! It only took a few chapters for the plot to get very suspenseful, and the intense action only continues to mount throughout this 400 page book.
Tom Pawlik has really done a fabulous job on this story plot. A few times the writing felt more like ‘telling’ then ‘showing’, but with all that action and suspense I barely noticed it. I will be honest and say I had my doubts about Beckon. I'd never read anything by Pawlik before and wasn’t sure I would enjoy it. Boy, was I wrong!
While Beckon does require you to stretch your imagination a little, I don’t think it is totally far-fetched. I mean, aren’t scientists discovering knew animals/species still today?? So, as I said, it’s not a very big stretch. Reminded me a bit of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti’s books. I will certainly be keeping my eye out for more books by Pawlik in the future. This author has my attention!
I reviewed this book for Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tours. Special thanks to the publishers, Tyndale, for sending me a review copy. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.
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Posted July 21, 2012
I'm really at a loss for words when it comes to describing this new release by Tom Pawlik. I mean this the best way possible because this book is just...amazing!!
First, the reader meets Jack, an anthropologist, on a journey to find out what happened to his dad twelve years ago. After his death, Jack was going through his father's belongings and found journals of his research about an ancient Indian tribe. Why didn't his dad ever come back? Jack sets out to find out what might have happened.
Elina Gutierrez is looking for her cousin who disappeared a few weeks ago. She is a former police officer who is searching for her cousin, wondering why he never wrote to report about the new job he acquired.
George Wilcox is searching for a cure for his wife Miriam's illness.
What lengths would you go to find and/or save the one you love?
This book is full of mystery, adventure, gruesome spider like creatures, and an interesting tribe of people. Imagine being lost in a cave that is illuminated by some form of algae to find yourself being confronted by spiders larger then Humvees and tribal people out to kill everything they see moving. Not only that, you witness a very peculiar and grotesque ceremony that these tribal members carry out.
I don't normally get scared or even have chills running through my body when watching "scary" movies or reading books. However, this one kept me up at night! Tom Pawlik has a very interesting way with his characters and I'm pleased to say that he finally got to me! :) I've been looking for a book like this for quite some time...now it just needs to be made into a movie. I would recommend Alan Rickman to play Thomas Vale for added creepiness! :)
Read this book today...but beware, it will stick with you...possibly for eternity!
Many thanks to Tyndale for providing this book for review.
Posted July 19, 2012
For anyone who remembers the X-Files, Tom Paulik’s “Beckon” serves as an intriguing venture into a series of mysteries which are sought to be solved by the main characters in the book. The respective circumstances of each character leads them to a town in Wyoming which is full of odd occurrences itself. The mysteries that shroud the main characters include what happened to a father, another’s missing cousin, and one’s search for a cure for a spouse’s Alzheimers disease. Reminiscent of a Stephen King novel, “Beckon” yields a good amount of what any reader would enjoy in an X-Files episode or a King story, without an abundance of blood, guts, gore, or intrepid main characters, lol. For anyone looking for a multi-faceted approach to a good suspense story, I think “Beckon” fits the bill.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 19, 2012
Welcome to Beckon: You're not here by chance.
The story of three people who arrive in the same town, around the same time, for very different reasons:
Anthropology student Jackson Kendrick wants to validate his father's research and find out the truth about his disappearance.
Police Officer Elina Gutierrez is searching for her cousin, who disappeared in a suspicious manner...did he find a job, or was he kidnapped?
Devoted husband and retired businessman George Wilcox is desperate for his wife Miriam to be healed from Alzheimer's. He will do anything for their lives to go back to the way they used to be, and he has been searching for a way to fix this for four years.
Once they (individually) arrive, crazy things begin to happen - and it just gets stranger and stranger.
This was an interesting read for me. I'm not typically a huge fan of the "thriller" genre, and even after waiting a few days to write this review, I remain lukewarm towards this book. I did appreciate the author's style of introducing each "main" character's story separately, but then weaving everything together without much retread - it was seamless and impressive! Be aware that this book is pretty graphic and descriptive in regards to the human sacrifices. Ultimately, I just have mixed feelings.
Posted July 14, 2012
Beckon by Tom Pawlik is a story about an ancient tribe of cave dwellers, various people, a quint little town, and how they all intersect. It's has a bit of a religious theme. I got to read the book courtesy of the Tyndale House book review program.
I found the book in general quite interesting. It's very unique. There's an ancient tribe of Native Americans that live in a cave. There's a man, Vale, who built a lodge to hide the entrance to their cave. Vale is a man of many secrets. He hides the N'watu from modern society, and they in turn provide him with essential necessities.
An anthropologist, Jack, lost his father when he was young. His father went to study the ancient tribe only never to return. A LAPD woman, Elina, loses her cousin too. An older politician and many other various wealthy people find themselves in Beckon, Wyoming looking for answers. Will Vale or the N'watu be their demise? After all you're in Beckon, and you aren't here by chance.
The story was fascinating. All kinds of twists and turns. There are creepy creatures, an ancient tribe, strange rituals, and more going on in the town of Beckon. The characters are well defined. The pace was pretty fast. As soon as one thing ends another begins. It's an endless feeling of, "Oh, no! What? Really?!" If you are or aren't religious, don't worry. There's just enough so everyone can enjoy the story without feeling pulled too far in either direction.
Posted July 10, 2012
Hang On...the ride is wild and fast, like the fastest most daring roller coaster ride times one hundred! Definitely NOT for the faint of heart. It is the kind of novel where you have to remember to breathe, and to unclench your fingers from the book or armrest. Where your heart can be in the throat, and your mind dizzy with all the sensory overload. I think HORROR would be the most appropriate to describe Tom Pawlik's newest novel, Beckon.
The novel starts out innocently enough with 21 year old Jack trying to find out what happened to his father when he disappeared out of Jack's life twelve years ago. Jack does not go on his own, but takes his best friend, seemingly his only friend along. Along the way, they pick up a guide to take them into an isolated area of the Wyoming mountainous region.
It also follows Elena as the young police woman from California searches for her cousin who has disappeared, and an elderly couple, George and Mariam. Mariam has had Alzheimer for four years, when Thomas Vale contacts him with a proposition that George finds impossible to ignore.
Will I pick up another Tom Pawlik novel? Well, if I am going to be honest with you, and honesty is what Tyndale and my readers are looking for in my reviews, no, I do not expect to. Even now, after I have put the book down, my heart races as I think of the word pictures Tom drew, and I know that it all comes from his own wild imagination. So, would I recommend it to others. In one word, yes I will, with the disclosure written above. It is a super well written novel, keeping the reader's attention throughout, no dragging moments, characters are well formed. In fact, dispite the fact that I did not like it because it is totally out of my genre, it is a great novel.
Posted June 24, 2012
In search of his missing father, Jack finds himself exploring hidden caves in the Wyoming mountains. When he discovers that each cave holds a millenia old secret, and the few who discover it disappear without a trace, a race is on to end the disappearances and the secrets which hold a whole town prisoner. A new novel by Tom Pawlik which hits every plot essential for a modern thriller, including strange sounds following you in the dark. It is difficult for me to write this review without including spoilers. I have honestly never read anything remotely similar to this book, and deliberately so. I am not a huge fan of thrillers, and thoroughly detest the horror genre; elements of both permeate this book. The few thrillers I do enjoy employ highly witty verbiage to include me as part of a wider demographic. This book did not. The first few chapters had me thoroughly hooked. The middle of the book lost me by failing to create empathy with newly introduced characters. By the end, I was just happy the story was over. This is by a Christian author, but this is more of a 'moral' book than a 'Christian' book. There is no language or sex, but the violence is there as befitting the genre. There is not a huge amount of gory detail (although in reality there would be copious amounts of blood), just enough to leave me feeling disturbed. The protagonists (with the exception of one) are not religiously motivated. However, the antagonists are involved in witchcraft, cannibalism, human sacrifice, and are non-specifically occult. The Christian message felt added in after the fact like artificial vanilla, adding flavor to an otherwise plainly executed story line. My reasons for the low rating are as follows: 1)My pre-disposition to read something a little more cheerful and less disturbing (read personal bias), 2)A plot which starts out strong, fades, then tries to mend the breach by inserting a belated lesson in faith, and 3)A sneaking suspicion that the end was written with a potential series in mind, so the author did not feel compelled to tie up all the loose ends, but in fact preferred to throw in a couple extra. Without a complete resolution and/or a concrete promise of a series, I found the lack of a finished ending utterly annoying. Recommended for Thriller/Suspense/Horror fans who have nothing against squishing bugs over and over and over again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 23, 2012
Author: Tom Pawlik
Publisher: Tyndale Publishers
Note: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher for an honest review.
Grab hold of the arm on your couch before you even open the book cover! At first I wasn’t sure what I was reading at all. During the first few chapters, I was reminded of the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth. I kept reading on as the plot was thickening and different genres of writing were included. What kinds of genres? Well, science fiction, mystery, and suspense type genres. The author definitely takes the reader on one wild and crazy ride, making it hard to discern the plot.
As you continue down the path of reading, more characters are introduced. The scenes are changing as well as questions rising faster than you can read. The story begins with a dad who is saying good-bye to his son before embarking on a journey to study ancient people. The father has been mocked by colleagues for the premises published in his professional writings. After a decade of being gone, we find that Jack has decided to take up the path of his father’s study in hopes of discovering what happened to his dad as well as to exonerate him. Jack’s father was an anthropologist. Jack grew up without a mother, but was raised by a loving aunt.
Jack isn’t the only one looking for answers, so is a woman named Elina. Having been a daughter of a murder victim, she has become a cop. Her decision to search for answers proves to be more dangerous than any other decision she has ever made. Then, the reader is introduced to George. As we continue down the path of discovery, we see George is quite successful and married though bares a heavy burden. Like all who find themselves at the end of their rope, he is searching for a miracle for his wife. What cost must George pay in order to secure the hope he no longer has? The villain in the story sounds like someone we might know--you know, the type who sees a chance to take advantage of someone’s heartache placing before them… I can’t tell you or that would ruin it.
Finally, we come to the last chapters of the book. Here we see the warfare that is raging all through the book come to a climax. Many characters are lost, hurt or are locked up for future experiments maybe? No, something more sinister is in the works far worse than anyone can imagine. The story is filled with twists, turns, action, and surprises. Though at first I wasn’t sure I could even finish the book, I then found I couldn’t put it down! Beckon is definitely a unique story. I was glad I had an opportunity to read it. For me, the book rates a 4-star as it is not something I would have chosen, but found it to have great story telling!
Posted June 12, 2012
From the back cover:
Some things weren't meant to be discovered. Three people are each drawn to the small town of Beckon, Wyoming. A young anthropologist researches a Native American legend and makes a terrifying discovery. An ex-cop investigating her cousin's disappearance finds herself in grave peril. And an aging businessman is lured by the promise of a miracle. One by one they discover the town's ghastly secret. The only question is . . . will any of them make it out alive?
I don't usually read thrillers. To be honest, this book didn't draw me into it immediately. But as I read, I was quickly engrossed in it. Jack, Elina, and George all find their way to Beckon in search of answers. What they find is a horror that none of them could have imagined. As the story unfolds, I was able to put the different pieces together and found myself hoping that these three would figure out a way to survive. Some elements of the book reminded me of Frank Peretti's The Oath, a book that I first read in college and one that gave me nightmares. Because this book was a thriller and I know my tendency to dwell on things, I had to kep my reading of it limited to my lunch breaks at work. That would give me plenty of time to allow other things to filter into my mind and I wouldn't dwell on the book. Other elements reminded me of one of the Stargate Atlantis episodes that involved the Wraith enzyme and the retro-virus. I will say that this book actually makes you look at your own life and to see the sin that clutters it.
I would recommend this book to the thrill seeker, Frank Peretti fan, people who enjoy thrillers, or someone who wants to read a griping novel. I received this book for free from Tyndale House for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
Rating - 4 stars
Posted April 4, 2012
“Beckon” begins with the story of a man whose father disappeared 12 years prior. The father was an archeologist who had seemed to discover the earliest Native American Indian tribe ever recorded. The son found his research and started off on his own mission to find out what happened to his father. Three different parts of the “Beckon” story converge as one at the end with an amazing conclusion that truly calls you to, “Come. And Live Forever”.
All are looking for answers. But as they draw closer to discovering the town of Beckon’s chilling secret, the real question becomes…will their quest uncover a miracle, or release an unspeakable evil? (from back cover)
Jack Kendrick wants to find the truth of his father’s disappearance. Elina Gutierrez is a former police officer who is looking for her missing cousin. George Wilcox is lead to believe there is a cure for his wife’s illness. All three people find more than what they ever expected in their individual quests. If they thought their present situations couldn’t get any worse, they do. The unimaginable becomes their reality. Do they sell their souls and become a part of Beckon or do they stand up for what’s right?
399 pages might seem a lot to read, but once you find out the story of what’s behind the town of Beckon, you can’t turn the pages quick enough! Each character has their own issue to come to terms with. Each character loses something special to them, each in a different way, but all with the same pain felt. The theme of the book is what each character ends up finding out for themselves – do you know the Author of Life?
I highly recommend this book to read. It will keep you on the edge of your seat as well as make you think about your own mortality and what lengths you would go to help someone you love.
Posted March 20, 2012
Some things were supposed to be unknown to humankind. Once these eerie secrets are released, however, there is no going back. Three unconnected strangers are all drawn to the peculiarly small town of Beckon, Wyoming. All for different reasons. All to be in more danger than ever before.
When Anthropologist Jack Kendrick Falls down into a cavern while searching for his long lost father, he discovers something much more fierce than a simple kidnapping. Police officer Elina Guiterrez arrives in Beckon after tracing a white van smuggling illegal immigrants into Wyoming. She is then mercilessly thrown into a dungeon. Together, they must find a way out of this haunted town.
• The twists. Most of the time, you really did not see it coming.
• The suspense. I will not lie; it was intense towards the end.
• The interwoven stories. I liked how each of the characters wove into the other somehow.
I did not like:
• The gore. It was REALLY gory, and there was almost no lull in the violence.
• The talk of human sacrifice. While I understand it was important to this story, I don’t understand why you would choose to write about it.
• The sickness. They talked about it so much. It just made me nauseous.
• And most importantly, the lack of mention about God. While the book did mention God a few times, it was not nearly as much as it should have been. Everything done in the book was done by humans, not God. *SPOILER ALERT* Even once they are saved, it is no thanks to God. It was complete reliance on themselves.
I believe it is hard for me to recommend a book that had very little redeeming quality. While I am not saying to never read it, I am saying exercise EXTREME caution before doing so.
This book was given to me from Tyndale in exchange for this review.