I'll say straight off the bat that this is one of the best books I've read this year. I wasn't sure what to expect, but from the minute I started reading it, I was pulled in. See what I thought of this book and then scroll down to enter to win a copy!
Book Title: Lullaby Road by James Anderson
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release date: October 16, 2018
Tour dates: Oct 22 to Nov 2, 2018
Winter has come to Route 117, a remote road through the high desert of Utah trafficked only by those looking to escape the world and those the world has rejected. Local truck driver Jones, still in mourning over the devastating murder of his lover Claire, is trying to get through another season of his job navigating treacherous roads and sudden snowfall without accident when a mute Hispanic child is placed in Jones’s path at a seedy truck stop along his route bearing a note that simply reads “Please, Ben. Bad trouble. My son. Take him today. His name is Juan. Trust you only. Tell no one. Pedro.” From that moment forward, nothing will ever be the same. Not for Ben. Not for the child. And not for anyone along the seemingly empty stretch of road known as Route 117.
Despite deep misgivings, and without any hint of who the child is or the grave danger he’s facing, Jones takes the child with him and sets out into a landscape that is as dangerous as it is beautiful and silent. With the help of his eccentric neighbors—Phyllis, who turned up one day in her Rolls-Royce with two children in tow and the FBI on her tail; Andy, a Utah State Trooper who is on or off duty depending on if his hat is on or off his head; and Roy, an ex–coal miner who has lived in Rockmuse, off Highway 117, his whole life and survives on odd jobs and the kindness of his neighbors—Jones uncovers buried secrets of the desert that are far more painful than he could have imagined.
In LULLABY ROAD, readers will find themselves enthralled by Anderson’s vivid sense of place and his beautiful and heartbreaking narrative.
I'll say straight off the bat that this is one of the best books I've read this year. I wasn't sure what to expect, but from the minute I started reading it, I was pulled in by Ben's voice, by the harsh and yet beautiful landscape and by the storytelling that made me experience a range of emotions. I can always tell how much I like a book by how eager I am to get back to it. I had this book next to me at all times and read every free moment I had.
Told in first person by the main character Ben Jones, the story unfolds in layers through his eyes. A local truck driver who for twenty years has been delivering essentials and goods to the remote towns and inhabitants along Route 117 in Utah, he knows, better than anyone, the road's desolate stretch and the treacherous weather that affects the high desert. The story begins when Ben is reluctantly given a mute Hispanic child and a baby to safeguard, just as he is beginning his truck route. From this moment on, nothing is the same.
As a reader I could not help but like Ben, a lot. His dilemmas and the way he handles them showed his strength of character, his sense of right and wrong, his pain and anger for his past losses, his determination, his loyalty and lastly his self-sacrificing nature. The motley crew of characters, the unique desert setting which felt like a character of its own, and the distinctive conflicts made this an unforgettable read for me.
This book is literary fiction at its best, making the reader meditate on how powerful and essential human connection is. No matter how much solace we may need at certain times in our life, we cannot survive without bonding with others on some level, even in the minutest ways. This connection is a healing balm. Ben, who is mourning the loss of the woman he loved, learns this as he is thrust in difficult situations time and again.
Beautifully written, the author has a way of describing even the most shocking of events in a way that is heartbreaking but palatable even for sensitive readers. Although this is the sequel to The Never-Open Desert Diner, I did not feel I was missing out. It can be read as a stand alone, however, it certainly makes me want to read the first book.
James Anderson is a master storyteller, with a narrative that is entertaining as much as it is reflective. There is never a dull moment. Riveting, with an engaging voice that can be sobering, Lullaby Road will pull at your heartstrings, make you smile, get your blood pulsing and remind you that even where these is evil, goodness will prevail in even the most desolate of places.
Praise for Lullaby Road:
“Atmospheric…Arresting desert vistas and distinctive characters leave a lasting impression.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Anderson’s lyrical prose brings a forgotten corner of the world to life, and the authentic narrative does the same for Jones. Recommended for fans of William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor and Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire.”
“…a delicious cast of colorful characters…Lullaby Road is a triumphant mix of landscape, character, wit and sagacity wrapped in a noir thriller.”
- Shelf Awareness
"The action is nonstop, and the plot twists are heart-pounding. Anderson’s vivid prose gives a sense of vastness that is the desert he so brilliantly describes – it is an amazing use of language to create a mood and feeling…Fans of Anderson’s first installment of this series will devour this book and long for another visit with the residents along Route 117.”
- Library Journal Starred Review
To read more reviews, please visit James Anderson's page on iRead Book Tours.
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