Friday Book Whimsy: The Bright Lands

I really don’t like to write bad book reviews. I know that just because I dislike a book doesn’t mean that many others won’t like the book very much. Based on my own experiences, however, I think that I might dissuade someone from reading this book and that doesn’t seem fair. In fact, I wish someone would read the book based on this review, and offer me a contrary opinion. I would love to know what I’m missing.

The publishers offered a general description that intrigued me. High school football in a small town in Texas. Having grown up in a small football-loving town myself, and understanding full well the prominence in which football players are placed in these communities, I was up for a rip-roaring read. I was totally unprepared for what I read.

Joel Whitley moved to New York City years before when being a gay man in Bentley, Texas, became unbearable. He was relatively happy until he received a mysterious telephone call from his younger brother, Dylan, who happens to be the star quarterback of the hometown team, and a very gifted player. The vague telephone conversation led Joel to believe that his brother was in trouble. Joel traveled to Bentley to see what he can do.

He almost immediately runs into the deputy sheriff, Starsha Clark, who not only was his first girlfriend, but whose brother vanished years before and was never found. Hours later, Dylan also disappears.

What follows is one of the most crazy, mixed-up, and dark stories I’ve ever read. It is called a thriller, but it is a mish-mash of mystery and thriller with a very confusing dash of horror. I am not a prude, but the amount of sordid sex that was part of the story — and I’m talking about sex involving minors — was enough to make me close the book.

Except I didn’t. Because author John Fram’s debut novel, while horrifying, was also quite well written. When I would be about to give up, he would write something that made me feel as though I simply HAD to find out what the Bright Lands were.

Having said all of the above, I simply can’t recommend this book. Still, if you have the stomach to read the book, I would love to receive comments on what you thought.

Here is a link to the book.