Martin knows every desolate mile of Eastern Montana’s highways. As a traveling salesman, his only companion is talk radio, especially Beyond Insomnia with Lee Danvers. Its reports of the paranormal keep Martin entertained—and hopeful that there’s more to the universe than selling screws and nails to far-flung, small-town hardware stores.
A bright spot in Martin’s routine is the complimentary breakfast at a motel in Brixton, a junction town well past its sell-by date. But it’s not the watery coffee, day-old pastries, and pre-mixed waffle batter he loves. It’s Cheryl, the housekeeper who sets out the breakfast.
The townsfolk guard Cheryl jealously from the likes of Martin—who, to be fair, has more noble intentions than most. But Cheryl has room for only one man in her life, the ailing stepfather who raised her. As much as Martin dreams of rescuing Cheryl from her minuscule town life in the middle of nowhere, she steadfastly refuses to be in need of rescuing.
Martin’s chance comes when Cheryl’s car breaks down and he stops to give her a ride. To thank him, she bakes him a rhubarb pie, and he works up the courage to ask her out on a date. She agrees—but then she’s gone. Left town for a guy she met on the Internet, or so everyone says.
But Cheryl’s stepfather doesn’t buy it. He blames Martin for her disappearance, sending Martin on a search for the truth. What he uncovers about Cheryl’s family and Brixton’s history is far weirder than anything he’s ever heard on the radio. Especially if it’s true that Cheryl’s salvation lies in discovering a long-lost secret recipe for rhubarb pie—which might just be the best, and the most dangerous, pie in the galaxy.
Rhubarb was a delightfully cute read, a pleasing balance of drama and humor. There was just the right amount of humor to make it a light read, and not feel cartoon-ish. The characters were, well, let’s just say not always who they seemed to be, yet they were interesting and well developed. I have to admit, normally I’m not a big fan of science fiction, but the synopsis was intriguing and I just had to read this book. I’m certainly glad I did. (and I love rhubarb pie)
* the ominous theme music from the television program Twilight Zone
swells in the background *
About the author
M.H. Van Keuren quit a perfectly good job to devote his life to writing science fiction. He’s a former convention center manager, and once upon a time graduated from film school. His first novel Rhubarb was released in April, 2012 .He lives in Billings, Montana, with his wife and two sons.
Find his blog at mhvankeuren.blogspot.com.
Like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MHVanKeuren
Kindle Length: 360 pages
Publication Date: April 3rd 2012 (first published April 1st 2012)
4 out of 5 stars
Per the USA Federal Trade Commission disclosure policy (http://ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm) governing endorsements and testimonials: the above mentioned book was purchased by this blogger for the sole purpose of reading enjoyment. This blogger was not paid or did not receive money, favors or gifts by the book author, publisher, agent, or anyone promoting or receiving a profit from the above mentioned book. This review was done so voluntarily to share views of the book with other readers and potential readers.