Monday, June 07, 2010

Book Review -- Fade from Blue by P. J. Thomas

Title of Document: Book Review
Book Title: Fade from Blue
Author: P. J. Thomas
ISBN: 1-4241-6939-9
Publisher: Publish America
Genre and Target Market: fiction; thriller; crime
Publication Date: 2007
Book Length in Pages: 210

In my professional work as part of the publishing world, I usually have one encounter with an author’s work. While most books that I am asked to read are good and are obviously created with the genuine passion of the author, they quickly became another addition to my bookshelf and I move onto the next novel. In some instances, however, I am given the opportunity to really examine the breadth of an author’s work through multiple publications. In the case of P. J. Thomas, the pleasure I have had to read three of his novels have served to increase my respect for his work and make me a bigger fan of the stories he creates. Each book that Thomas writes offers unique characters, formatting, and even writing styles, as every work shares a story different from the others. One aspect of Thomas’ work that does not change, however, is the quality of the writing. His latest novel, Fade from Blue, is a powerful thriller that will grip readers from beginning to end.

Fade from Blue tells the story of Frankie Rizzo, a police officer who must ask for help from some unsavory connections after he is accused in the murders of his wife and her lover. Frankie spends decades living under a false identity and building an entirely new life for himself in Mexico. In all of those years, however, he never stops thinking about the infant son he left behind. Frankie is eventually reunited with his now-grown child through a series of amazing circumstances and the climax which then unfolds is one not to be missed.

As he has so wonderfully done in his other novels, Thomas crafts a set of characters that are believable and honest in their portrayals. Whether the readers are following a high-ranking member of the mob, a corrupt police officer, a wisecracking older woman, or a scared girl with a history of abuse, they will find dialogue and emotion that fits perfectly and comes together to form a captivating storyline. I was particularly drawn to the women in Fade from Blue, each of whom showed both amazing strength and vulnerability. There were no one-dimensional stereotypes of women in the book, which I appreciated and which allowed me to become even more invested in the book’s outcome.

Thomas manages to avoid the predictable “gotcha” moments that are always found in lesser thrillers. He does not need to shock his readers with a ridiculous plot twist in order to grab your attention. (Don’t get me wrong . . . effectively executed plot twists are breathtaking, but I find that they are often forced into a book in an awkward or forced way.) Instead, Thomas slowly develops in Fade from Blue a tightly constructed novel that unfolds naturally. There are surprises, to be sure, but they are presented in a way that shocks but also integrates into the other events of the novel seamlessly.

If you are looking for a quality novel that will keep you turning pages but yet not wanting to reach the back cover, I strongly recommend Fade from Blue. And, once you become a fan of P. J. Thomas, I hope you will seek out his previous books and enjoy all that this author has offered to the literary world. I believe that, like me, you will enjoy the opportunity to explore Thomas’ work thoroughly and await the time you can hold the next work and begin what is certain to be another great reading experience.

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