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Posted July 10, 2013
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Mr. Dillon for offering up your story.
Ok, so first of all a disclaimer, this book is probably more of a 3 1/2 stars for me and loses a star because I absolutely hate when in a first person narrative the character talks to me knowing I'm reading their story. The whole, "oh wait I'll get back to that in a moment" thing drives me nuts. First person isn't my favorite narrative voice in the first place, but first person breaking the fourth wall, grrrrrrrrr!
Jeff has just moved to town recently. With a absent mother and no real home life he has developed a strong bond with a girl, Carla, down the street. As things begin to happen to Jeff he can't explain Carla takes him to meet her friend Lobo. An older Indian gentleman who has a strange ability to know what you're thinking and know things about you that he has no business knowing. Lobo explains to Jeff that after his bike accident he has abilities others don't. He can see the worlds within worlds of the reality around us. But Jeff has no control over those powers and finds himself in danger as an ancient spirit keeps trying to contact him. Jeff finds himself thrust into a world with rules he doesn't understand trying to figure out what is happening around him and gain even a little control over his new "powers." He finds himself splitting away from his body and seeing double, as things trip him up and send his consciousness to another reality. As more details of the ancient spirit trying to get his attention become known Jeff and Carla find themselves delving into the details of one particular battle in the Seminole War. Only finding out everything they can will help them free the spirit trapped in it's endless loop and let things return to normal.
And with that out of the way here's the good and bad of this book for me.
Oh man I do love me some history! The way Mr. Dillon incorporated his history of the Seminole Wars into this novel was fantastic! I loved the links to the future descendants and the descriptions of the battle they were trapped in. He made that very real for me. The last third of this book was AWESOME!
I really liked the characters here as well. Carla had such great spunk, Lobo was interesting and just enough off kilter to be interesting without being overly creepy, and Jeff is the great everyman foil for a kid thrust into circumstances out of his control.
The mythology of the worlds within worlds bit was an interesting concept as well. I liked seeing how our perception of the world could be very narrow. There's something very cool about how all knowing Lobo could be without really knowing exactly what was going to happen next.
There's a saying in making films, show don't tell. You never want to leave your audience feeling like your just lecturing them or inundating them with information, you want them to discover it for themselves as they live through the circumstances you have going on. This, to me, was the biggest fault of this novel. I really felt through the first 2/3 of this book every piece of exposition was being lectured to me in big spats of words, most often coming from Lobo. I wanted Jeff to really discover more of what he needed to know himself through his actions, not be told outright by Lobo. It felt like something would happen to Jeff and then I'd have 5 pages of Lobo explaining theory and convincing Jeff that what happened happened before something else would happen to Jeff and the cycle would repeat. Right up until Jeff got sucked into the battle at the end. Then I was with him. He had to figure out what was going on and how to survive himself.
While it was also a really cool thing, Lobo's all-knowingness was frustrating as well. It took away from Jeff being able to figure things out for himself and instead lent to Lobo just telling him what was happening and how to react.
This is a minor thing, but Carla and Jeff's relationship in the beginning took me awhile to figure out. They felt like they were too close for such a short acquaintance. I was thrown when I found out they had only known each other for a month. I didn't feel like their surroundings and relationship was clear right off the bat. When I finally got told what the actual date was I was I did a mental "huh?" as I somehow had been picturing us in the middle of summer. Same thing when I found out how short of a time Jeff had actually lived there. Now it is also entirely possible I missed some clues in the early pages, but it still threw me a little.
It took me some time to get into this one. But the story picked up pace the further into it I got. If it wasn't for a few small personal pet peeves this would probably have been a 4 star book for me. I think there's a good beginning with this authors work and see a lot of potential for his writing to develop.
Posted July 8, 2013
This Book I decided to take a chance on. I have been reading more in the vampires part of the paranormal. I was Very happy to find that this was a great read. I like the flow of the characters. Lobo was a strong old man with a way to get into the minds of those around him. I like how Carla took over and ran things the way she wanted them. It was a good story on emotions and fear making people do and think in ways that are not logical to others. I found Jeff to be a very typical kid trying to hide his intelligence and trying way to hard to impress the girl. I thought it was good that he started in his journey with the battles by himself, so when the time actually came he was ready to be there for others. He got to lose it by himself so when the lives of others were on the line he found his true nature and was able to complete the journey that was his to make. The Battle scene was made real to me i am now wanting to go check on the actual battle. Finding out that the character went from not seeing the past as real to the realization that war is not a story to be just read but a real frighting and deadly existence that no one should ever have to go through!. I tried to write this review without trying to ruin the story for others. But I completely loved the morals of the characters and how history was brought to the eyes of the kids, some times we forget that real people have had to live though some very bad history. I hope to see Carla and Jeff interact more in the future, I was so rooting for Jeff and Carla that seem to be a match made in heaven and a great team. With Lobo to drive them crazy I see great stories to be told.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 4, 2013
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Dillon manages to capture writing in the first person brilliantly. Everything is portrayed the way that a teenage boy would think it, right down to the jumbled up thoughts. It adds a very intriguing aspect to the novel. He also portrays the volatile emotions of a teen quite well. The descriptions and narrative in this novel set the scene for the action very well. There was a seamless flow from one section to the next.
I found that the novel was quite hard to relate to at times, mostly because the paranormal does not tie back to reality in any way. It makes it hard to imagine yourself in the place of the characters. Also, I felt that the characters could use some more development which would have made it easier to relate to them as individuals.
Even though this was an extremely well written book, as a whole it was one of those novels where a great deal happens but it doesn’t really catch my attention making it hard to get into. I found myself just floating from page to page to see how it ended.
Posted January 10, 2013
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for the purpose of review. The review is my honest opinion and I was not paid for this service.
Sliding Beneath the Surface is not my typical read, but I must say that Doug Dillon certainly has a way of capturing your attention and drawing you into the book. I liked how Doug not only introduces you to the characters but pulls you in as though you were old friends. I enjoyed getting to know the main characters Jeff, Carla and Lobo. Lobo, I must say makes you think of the old coot that you knew from your childhood. Every town has one. It's pretty creepy how he seems to know things before they happen and what someone is thinking. Without giving anything away, there were some pretty strange occurrences that happen throughout the story.
Sliding Beneath the Surface is a combination historical fiction story crossed with something out of the paranormal. This is a book was nothing short of extraordinary. Doug pulls you right into the story from the very first chapter and keeps you until the very end. He has an incredible story-telling ability and writes an incredible yet interesting story. I look forward to reading more books by Doug. If you enjoy reading a good book, I definitely recommend reading this one.
I give this book 4.5 stars out of a total of 5.
Posted January 5, 2013
Amazing read!!! I was astonished by this debut novel and can't wait for the second installment! Doug Dillon takes us on a ride through a paranormal world full of ghosts, physic events, and spine tingling moments. Jeff and Carla go on the journey of their lives as Jeff learns to trust the Shaman,Lobo, to help him break through the reasons behind his massive headaches. What he discovers is a foreshadow for something much deeper in his life.
I love the history weaved throughout the story line and the use of St. Augustine, apparently known for being one of the oldest cities located in the US. Reading this book not only gave me great entertainment as I was compelled to turn page after page, but I also have a desire to visit this city and experience the area myself. I also enjoyed reading this from a young mans point of view, especially when he broke free from the 'story line' to address the reader. This change in pace was a daring yet refreshing change.
This book is a YA paranormal, but readers of all ages will enjoy this compelling read. I will definitely be waiting for the next installment and have added Doug Dillon to my list of authors to watch for!
I received a copy of this book in digital format from the author in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Posted November 30, 2012
I just finished reading the first volume of The St. Augustine Trilogy, "Sliding Beneath the Surface," and must say I was impressed. The storyline caught my attention early on and kept it for the remainder of the book, increasing in intensity as we drew toward the conclusion.
This creative YA book is told from the point of view of a teenager - this time a boy. Jeff moves to a new town thanks to his father's gambling problems that basically wiped the family out financially. One of the first friends he makes is Carla, who happens to be black (nice to see a bit more diversity in a YA book today - if you don't count paranormal diversity that is). Carla introduces Jeff to Lobo and this is where the story really starts moving, maintaining a decent pace throughout.
Aside fom some minor allusions to romance, at its core this is a story about discovery - both internal & external, plus beginning to learn his own boundaries and what he is capable of. The end of the book was good, and could probably stand alone, but left me wanting to know more of what happens, and to learn right along with Jeff & Carla.
There only mild irritant for me was when Jeff stepped out of the story to address the reader. In those moments the writing and dialogue (with the reader) were distracting from the story and felt as if they were on a much less polished than the dialogue between the characters within the story itself. It was almost as if there was a pause in the story but someone forgot to tell Jeff, so he went off-script.
Other than those minor annoyances (which were not too frequent) I found this story entertaining and a solid read. Not only is it a good read for those in the YA category, it also has the 'legs' to cross into tradition fiction. That being said, I would still list it in the YA section of any library.
Posted November 21, 2012
A well-written, suspenseful ghost story. The reading was perfectly timed (as it was leading up to Halloween), and I found the book haunting. It explores the psychic realm, while incorporating the rich history of St. Augustine, FL.
The protagonist is unschooled in the psychic realm, but he is having dreams that seem very real since he was involved in an accident that left him with a head injury. He has just moved to St. Augustine and made friends with a cute girl. She is outspoken and pretty, and she and her grandmother take him into their lives since his own mother isn't around much. When he tells them about the terrible nightmares he has been having, they introduce him to their scary neighbor. He learns that his dreams aren't just dreams, and his very life will be in danger sooner than he might be ready for. He must learn about and start to believe in the psychic realm, come to understand it, and learn to trust a man who'd scare almost anyone who might run into him in broad daylight - let alone a dark alley - in an effort to save his own life.
The interpersonal relationships could have been a little more well-developed, and it is a little slow and repetitive in places, mostly while his "instruction" is taking place, but overall I liked the book.
Posted September 22, 2012
The mystery of what is happening in the story starts from the very beginning and kept me wanting to read to see what happened next. At times, the story seemed a little slow and I had a hard time sticking with the book, but I was glad that I did. This is a very good book and definitely lives up to its premise that we all create our own reality.
This is a refreshingly different storyline that the author presents. Jeff's almost unwilling to explore what is happening to him, and around him, and shows his journey through what seems to be 'the impossible' and opens up his mind to the many possibilities of 'worlds within worlds'. With the help of his friend Carla and a Native American Shaman named Lobo (who also becomes a friend), Jeff finds that there are many different 'realities' that are encountered on a daily basis. The strength of the three of them combined helps them overcome obstacles and they work toward changing things for the better.
There are a few spelling errors and left out words, but not so many that I couldn't read through them. I did like the fact the book was written in the first person and made me feel as if I was a part of the story. I thought that there would be a little more to the ending, but it was pretty good overall, and I enjoyed reading it.
Posted September 9, 2012
Review of Sliding Beneath the Surface by Doug Dillon St. Augustine Trilogy #1
This novel elicits a giant “Wow!” from me-Author Doug Dillon is one incredible storyteller. He has wrapped troubled adolescence, grief, being orphaned or partially orphaned, with history, legend, superstition, parallel dimensions, indigenous shamanism, and so much more, to deliver a story seamless in its coherence. I absolutely am on tenterhooks waiting for the next entry in Mr. Dillon’s “St. Augustine Trilogy.”
Jeff Golden and his widowed mother moved to St. Augustine, FL (“America’s most haunted city” and the oldest in the U.S.) following his father’s highway demise. Jeff is constantly angry; due to situations preceding his father’s death, and since then, the fifteen-year-old has become quite a manipulator, especially of adult authority figures. His only friend in the city is Carla, who also lost her archaeologist parents on an expedition in the Yucatan, and lives with her aged grandmother, who has virtually “adopted” Jeff. When a recurrent nightmare destroys what’s left of Jeff’s calm, Carla introduces him to her neighbor Lobo, a woodcarver and shaman. Lobo drills right to the heart of the problem, but in order to solve it, both Jeff and Carla enter into a terribly dangerous endeavor.
“Sliding Beneath the Surface” is targeted to a YA audience, but I am hear to validate that it is a great story for middle-aged and older readers just as much. I am very impressed with this debut novel, and it has my high recommendation. My review copy was provided to me by the author on Aug. 28, via Goodreads Group Making Connection, in expectation of a fair and impartial review.