My review of Peacefield by Philip David Alexander

3-3.5 stars

This book was a mixed bag for me.

The story follows a variety of characters throughout what starts off as a normal day in a small town in Ontario. One guy, the General, has had enough and starts shooting outside his window from the third floor of a small building. He takes a hostage and chaos ensues.

The pacing of the novel is excellent. The reader gets just enough of the characters to move the story along when it changes to the next. It is done to great effect in this novel, in my opinion.

I also enjoyed a lot of the interactions in this novel, particularly between Walter and Gavin. Their scenes were sweet, funny and kind of whimsical.

What was not great was when we actually got into a character’s mind. Most of the characters were pretty indistinguishable when we were in their heads. They kept getting blurred for me. I kept having to remember “Oh, right, this is the one who lost his brother” “this is the one who used to be a mail man”. The thought processes and reactions of characters were far too simile. Even when the sniper/hostage situation happened, most of the reactions were similar, if not the same “this sucks but what can you do, I’ll just wait and see what happens”. There was a bit of crying but no real distinguishable reactions. No hysteria, no take charge attitudes, no anger, mild/tepid fear. The lack of emotional response displayed by most, if not all, characters was actually pretty jarring at times considering the disturbing and violent situation they were in.

My last issue with the book was totally minor but was persistently annoying to me. The story takes place during winter in Ontario. There is snow on the ground and the day is described as cold. Why on earth is the kid wearing a rubber rain coat instead of a winter jacket? Completely bizarre and it kept distracting me.

That said, this book is a fast-paced and worthwhile read (it’s also very short – less than 200 pages). I read most of it in one sitting and really did enjoy it despite my complaints. The author is really good at pacing the novel and I can’t say enough good things about how much it added to the story.

I won this in a goodreads giveaway, so a big thank you to NON Publishing and the author for giving me a copy of the book


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