July 27, 2012

Cedardale Court by Nathan Lee Christensen

Cedardale Court (A Long and Winding Mystery)

Cedardale Court is full of daring fools, haunting old flames, and brimming with panicked villainy; which only makes the final week of Canner Connelly’s ten year attempt to avoid death feel that much more ridiculous. After a well-intentioned move to the Oregon countryside, the safety and peace of mind he’s longed for, for him and his daughter, Chloe, finally appears within reach. But, upon waking the next morning, their promising start at Uncle Henry’s falls rather short as the sun comes up and the ever inept residents around them start their days. One domestic dispute, a little reckless driving, and a broken fire hydrant later, what normally might have been an enjoyable Sunday morning quickly turns into a slightly darker affair as a human hand -well, half of one, really- turns up in the bushes. Things only get messier and more frightfully uncertain as the ghosts from the past begin to resurface and, one by one, the secrets that have been so carefully kept, for so very long, unravel for everyone.

In the face of the monstrously absurd, this little neighborhood might be the key that opens the door to Canner and Chloe’s new life, or it might be exactly as it appears; the gateway to the undoing of them all.

My Thoughts

When I first read this book, I was swept away with the refreshing talent. The ease at which he weaves a story is amazing. 

However, as the story continued on I started noticing some bad habits that crept in the way in the way of a great story.

The thing is, there are rules in fiction writing. I don't mind when authors break these rules, especially the tell versus show rule. This rule basically says that instead of telling us about the character, you show us the character.

For example instead of the writer saying John is sad, the author is suppose to describe how John looks, feels, and acts when he is sad. There is a key difference there. 

Now, like I said before, I don't mind when an author breaks the rules. Some authors actually make their living breaking the rules. However, when an author breaks the rule on every page, at every moment they can. It just starts to annoy me. Especially when it starts to interfere with every good part of the book. 

So let's break this down further.

Characters: Now, as much as I love the characters, they all seemed the same. Or at least have the same type of humor and the same type of speak and the same actions.

Jane and Chloe sound exactly the same. And yet, Jane has to be above 30 years old and Chloe is ten. The vocabulary that Chloe has is extraordinary for a ten year old and her humor is above her age.

Alec and Steven sound the same. The same sort of voice unfortunately.

Fortunately, Canner and Uncle Henry definitely sounded different. 

Dialogue: Like I mentioned, a lot of the characters sounded a lot alike. I wish that the author would have made the extra effort to make sure that each character got their own voice.

Unfortunately that didn't happen.

Additionally, I think there were moments where the author summarized what was spoken instead of showing us or including us in the conversation.

Plot: I think the plot worked out well. The only problem I had was with the ending. 

Setting: I like the setting. A small town gone wrong. It's very interesting getting to know the quirks of the small town. 

Ending: What was the problem with the ending?

Too convenient. 

I just think it all happened nice and with a big bow on it. But that's just me.

Overall: Would I recommend this book?

Tough call. I would say yes, if you don't mind what I mind. The same voice characters, the ending, and the typos. There are some typos, but not enough to make me want to circle them.

I could just be picky (which I've been accused of), but I know what I like. This author writes wonderfully, but maybe it's just not suited for my taste. Maybe you'll like him better. 

This just my opinion versus others who have fallen in love with his quirky style and wit. So I would advise giving him at least a chance (by reading the sample) if you're looking for a quirky mystery. 


  1. This article is really worth reading, it has too much details in it and yet it is so simple to understand, Thanks for sharing the picture it has great detail in it and i really appreciate your true artistic work!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, John! I'm glad you appreciate the honesty and the artistic touches, lol. :)