Sparrowbush, by Jeb Ladouceur, is a suspense novel that kept me easily turning pages. I loved it from beginning to end for its intriguing plot, its love story, the small-town setting a big-city lawyer couldn't stay away from, its feminist "David" pitched against corrupt-government-figure "Goliaths," and its unexpected just-right ending.
MARK OF THE ZODIAC is a novel crafted by the writer, who wove people and places throughout a riveting plot so masterfully, that the reader is bonded magnetically to the story. It is Jeb Ladouceur at his very best.
Jeb Ladouceur has produced another thriller featuring the brilliant maniac, Roberto Trebor, a palindrome-fixated serial killer with no heart whatsoever. Matter of fact, Trebor finds it easy to cut out his victims' hearts (or throats) with aplomb.
"The Palindrome Plot" is actually the first installment in a trilogy involving homicide detective Steve "Rosie" Rosenberg and his battle with the seemingly indestructible fiend who torments him and his savvy sidekick, Edna Murphy. Trebor is fresh from jail, having been released by an errant parole board even though he has murdered his parents just a few years earlier. The initial offering in the three-book series was the memorable "Frisco" and bound-to-be-controversial "Calamity Hook" (rumored to flirt with sacrilege) is on the way soon.
Ladouceur is an interesting writer who really does his research homework. For instance, the inventive author makes his antagonist, Roberto, a custodial employee of the New York Public Library, and places him in the famed building's cavernous sub-basement. His makeshift room can be reached only by riding an ancient freight elevator that no other employee would ever use. There Trebor lures a youthful victim and ... well, I mustn't reveal the lurid details, but you may rest assured the goings on will punctuate your calm with absolute dread.
Unquestionably, Jeb Ladouceur has a fine future presenting his multi-layered plots and breathtaking tie-ins, for he does so with superb imagery and sure-footed linguistic style. So get "The Palindrome Plot" ... I dare you. For a while, late at night, you might be sorry you did ... but you'll probably get over it.
I figured out how Ladouceur does it. In THE DEALER, he selects interesting names of his characters, just like they do in notable films. The characters accurately fit their role in the story ( like those in the film Gone with the Wind, or television's M*A*S*H.) Names like Louis D'Palma, Cal Truitt, crusty names like Nan-Cee, Kerry Burbidge, Rabbi Shlomo Sobol, Rose Battaglia, Larry Provenzano, blackjack dealer Clay Buckley- you'll meet them all. He must've stayed up all night to think of those six alone. You will remember them,too. Two: he practically emulates the great ones: Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, moving the story along in an unpretentious way. You realize that fact when you find yourself involved- really involved. Three; Its those short "chapters" that are carefully developed steps leading up to the core of the story to a point that prevents you from closing the covers. Short chapters represents the style of his genius. How movie moguls have not picked his books for promising films confounds me. And, as always the stories are always original and riveting.You surely have the best seat in the book when you decide to read a Jeb Ladouceur book. This one is no different. An artist with words, so pick up a copy of The Dealer and get lost in it.
"The Banana Belt" takes its title, not from where you might expect, but from an arable crescent of land in Idaho. Yes! Idaho! The novelist's clear intention is to bring home to the reader the myriad human experiences that define a number of characters who occupy different roles and stations in that unique corner of our world. Dovetailing the lives of the diverse group that populates his new book is a tall order that some, at the story's beginning, will possibly doubt Ladouceur can fill convincingly.
But this book's key individuals play off one another in a manner that makes all of them new and intriguing, although they somehow come across as familiar and embraceable.
Though it might be difficult at the start for us to imagine the drama's contrasting players ever truly interacting, we nonetheless sense their eventual convergence from the outset. Indeed, our perception of this inevitable interdependence grows as each new page tumbles over, and it's not long before we recognize the logic of each character's involvement in the complex lives of the others.
Now, to be sure, "The Banana Belt" is a far cry in concept, style, and plot from Ladouceur's three previous works. Noted book reviewer, T.J. Clemente observes correctly that the departure is obvious. For the assurance of the author's fans, however, Clemente is quick to add that this novel is "...perhaps Mr. Ladouceur's best-written offering to date."
Okay! Right again! There can be little doubt that with the publication of his most recent yarn, Long Island's newly prominent author reinforces his reputation as a smooth and insightful storyteller. Furthermore, Ladouceur's deft treatment of tangled lives in a real-world setting virtually unknown to most of us, will surely prompt literary critics to add "seasoned" to the terms they choose in defining him from now on.
FRISCO starts hot, then cools while the characters find venues and the plot moves along.Then things heat up. Details, details and scary moments make this book a challenge to read, so read carefully and you will find yourself immersed so deeply that, at times, you must close the book for consideration of fact and sorting out things before you continue. Yes, and sometimes catching your breath. The author is smart. Well researched material make it a Conan Doyle style adventure. Oh, sure, you know what's coming, but you are scared along the way. The genius of plotting with Frisco's myriad Chinese characters, the deep darkness of the insane murderer the Rosenbergs are tracking and lots of surprises make this a terrific read. If I am not wrong, you may see movie in the future, for this is a book from which movies are drawn......that is, if the producers have the courage. Five or more stars, please.
The Oba Project puts you in an environment and culture like you've never experienced--but makes you feel you've known it all your life. Even the occasional French phrase or native, possibly Inuit (Eskimo) Inuktitut word feels logical and familiar. The setting is in Canada, after all--but shares focus with American characters. A naive New York-based reporter pursues a story on a Jim Thorpe-like Canadian figure and, in the process, stumbles in lots of ways. A life-threatening injury lands him in the care of locals who open his eyes to more than he wanted to know and keeps him in the center of things long enough to penetrate some sinister collaborations between American and Canadian politicians. An underground world of technological doings, whose top-notch operatives take us into a specifically-described installation complete with its own faltering Lex Luthor, has us wondering if this thing that seems so real might actually exist.
Master storyteller Jeb Ladouceur has outdone himself with CALAMITY HOOK. Nearly two years ago, the Long Island writer exploded on the literary fiction scene with "Frisco," his hair-raising brainchild about serial killings in and around California's enigmatic 'City by the Bay.' Following that success, Ladouceur's nimble mind devised a second dose of pure evil. "The Palindrome Plot," actually prequel to "Frisco," has the first book's key characters clashing in another brilliantly contrived tale of violent conflict. The lurid yarn involves a frantic pursuit amid the storied landmarks of midtown Manhattan.
As usually happens with cleverly crafted thrillers like these, readers of the two spellbinders literally demanded a third book. Fans across the country (and beyond) clamored openly for a trilogy, and the prolific scribbler, whom none other than bestselling author Jodi Picoult calls, "...an up-and-coming novelist, well on his way," has responded with a thoroughgoing sensation!
"Calamity Hook," is a quiet Oklahoma town about to witness unaccustomed and unbridled fury ... because sociopath Roberto Trebor has come to call. And the depraved fugitive is hell-bent on mass murder that incorporates vengeance and sacrilege.
Count on it ... you'll never forget Jeb Ladouceur's ingenious, blaspheming villain ... the diabolical fiend who makes his most chilling appearance to date-in normally tranquil "Calamity Hook." This guy scares me!