Original Books

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Son Comes Home by Joseph Bentz

Chris LaRue has returned to his hometown in Indiana for the first time since his brother David died tragically in a car crash. Chris finds his family the same as they were when he left. His ex-fiancee is still there, unmarried. Nothing has changed. Except his sister Robin. Robin confides a dark secret to Chris-she is pregnant by one of their father's young friends, Bobby. Chris observes that Bobby has been acting as a replacement for David to their father, since his father always loved David more than Chris. Robin fears for her father, because of his recent heart attack, if she tells him.

The first half of the novel basically fills time by introducing the characters and their pasts. As usual with Joseph Bentz, most of his characters have personalities, and none of them are perfect. However, nothing else worthwhile is accomplished in the first half of the book.

At the beginning of the second half is where things start to get interesting. Several bad choices are made by main characters, leading to interesting circumstances that do not end in a perfect fashion. Chris also reveals to the reader a long, complicated story about him and David that serves to explain several previously unknown aspects.

The end tops the book off complete with the originality Joseph was lacking in Cradle of Dreams and At Close of Day. He finally learned how to write a realistic end instead of a perfect, fluffy end. This is probably why people don't talk about A Son Comes Home.

But Joseph Bentz is nonetheless an underrated author who deserves more attention than some of the more popular authors on the market. However, the wasted time at the beginning of the book keep this book away form five stardom.

4 stars

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