Review: In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland

In the Scrape by James Newman
(Silver Shamrock Publishing, 2019)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book cover of In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland with silhouette of deer in high grass against huge full moon at night and a cabin in the woods

At 94 pages, In the Scrape by James Newman and Mark Steensland is a quick read, but be warned that the mounting tension might require an occasional break to catch your breath. You’re going to need the oxygen: the final third of the book, when the breathless pace escalates and characters become even more desperate, becomes unputdownable.

Newman and Steensland don’t neglect character building or description even at this rapid pace. From the first page I cared about the two brothers at the center of the story, Jake and Matthew. They’re desperate to escape their awful home life. For some readers (I’m one of them), the subject matter will hit too close to home, but it also deeply invested me in their plight. The scene work that keeps the pace brisk and takes the brothers out of their home and into other settings is incredible. Troubles compound quickly, but it’s the brothers that keep the story grounded and meaningful.

This book was included in the first delivery from Silver Shamrock Publishing’s monthly book box subscription. Three books in, I’m so happy I subscribed!

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