Pages

Monday, January 13, 2014

Green Valley Blog Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway

Green Valley Blog Tour



Title: Green Valley
Author: Israel J. Parker (website)(Twitter)
Pages: 352
Publisher: IJP Press
Source: review copy for blog tour
Rating: 4/5
Find itGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Summary from Goodreads:

A serial killer is on the loose in Green Valley, but what if he's the good guy?

The year is 2036 and the United States is pulling out of an economic crisis, thanks to new industries and technologies that thrive in Green Valley, Ohio. Regarded as "America's Hope," the city also boasts being named the safest city in America for five years running. But now Green Valley, one of only a handful of cities protected by the still-experimental Unified Enforcement Police, struggles to catch a new-era murderer who continues to kill and elude capture. As the elite federal police close in on the killer, they discover that something darker has infiltrated their perfect city.

Happily bumbling through his predictable life, Milton Simon comes face-to-face with murderer Clarence Jasper and is surprised to find that the killer has a message for him: JOIN ME. Milton soon learns that not only is Green Valley not the safe haven everyone perceives it to be; it’s Hell on Earth.


When I first read the description of this book, it had me from the term "serial killer". Add in a dystopian slant and I'm really excited. Add that it is set in the near future too and you've got me. Green Valley  is a fast paced book with not stop action. Milton Simon is your average Joe living in Green Valley, Ohio. But when he has a run in with a supposed serial killer, everything he thought he knew is put into question.

I had trouble with the PDF version of the book so the author was kind enough to send me a Kindle copy through Amazon. His message was to enjoy the book and don't be scared. I think that's a great way to start off on this creep fest. Because boy is there a bunch of creepiness.

One of my personal buzz words NOT to every read by choice is cheating. There is an affair that is mentioned early but it ends quickly so I was able to carry on. Had it continued I would have scrapped it - review book or not. The emotions that he was able to create were too intense.

I was extremely impressed with the writing ability that Parker showed. The story was even throughout and, as mentioned before, full of non-stop action. That's difficult to pull off but he did. While I enjoyed the book, it was a bit too much horror for my personal tastes. There are quite a few scenes that were just over my comfort level. That's a testament to his writing style though because seriously...so scary.

The only thing that I didn't like was the portrayal of God and religion. Not in the sense that you can't be pro-God or be anti-God but that the book seemed to waffle back and forth. At points I thought that it was very God is our enemy and yet at other points I felt like it was very God is our savior. Had it been less confused on that point, I think that I could have settled into the story a bit more.

The alleged serial killer, Clarence is quite likable even while he's being "bad"...I loved that Parker pulled no punches on him and his characterization. There is so much going on in the background that we learn in bits and pieces. 

My very favorite character was Phoenix, a Unified Enforcement Police officer. Her character was so strong and kick-ass that I'd love a book just about her! She was a secondary character but was still so well developed.

Overall I really enjoyed Green Valley and think that fans of dystopians that don't mind a bit of horror will really love. This is the first of a series and it leaves on a strong note.

About the author:

Israel Parker is a former Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer, Coast Guard Officer, and author of widely successful YA book, The Anne Marie.
In 2004, Israel was stationed at Air Station New Orleans, one of the Coast Guard’s busiest air, search and rescue units. One year later, Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed the Crescent City. He participated in countless daring rescues. These experiences fueled his desire to tell his stories.

Israel currently is stationed in Barboursville, West Virginia with his wife Melanie, their two children and their faithful Basset Hound, Roxanne. He remains on active duty, serving his country as a Coast Guard Officer.

Israel was kind enough to join me today with a special guest post so take it away Israel....

A day in the life.

When asked to do a day in the life of “me” as I writer, I have to admit I chuckled a bit. You see, I’m a father of a four and one year old, a husband to my wonderful wife, an active duty military officer, and of course I write books too.  With the entire aforementioned going on with me everyday, my writing exists mostly in a darkened place in the wee hours of the morning or the late hours of the night.

I guess I have to tell a little why I write to explain why in the hell I would put myself through my daily routine of writing.  First, I write because I have to.  My writing is part compulsion, part passion, with a dash of insanity.  My method begins with an idea floating around in my head.  Then when the idea grows into a burning sensation, I have to let it out or I become on edge or irritable.  I have to get it out or it will build up and make me physically ill.  As I have discussed with other writers or artists, when folks say that art of any kind is 95% hard work and 5% talent I want to correct them and say, for me anyway, writing is 95% obsessive compulsion and 4% talent…also I’m not very good at math.

So on to my typical day.

0300 or 0400, depends on the day, I get up; this is very typical when I’m a few months into a project or in my rhythm.  My rhythm is when the flow of the story is coming quick and my fingers have trouble keeping up with everything coming out. Anyway, I get up early during this time and write until 0600 when I have to stop so I can get ready to go to my job as a United States Coast Guard Officer.  For those who are interested, I am a Lieutenant and proudly serve in the field of Marine Safety.

I usually work until 1600, I say usually because I’m in the USCG and often we get called out and I have to work either beyond those hours or am called back in to work additional hours, all part of serving in the USCG. (Side note: I am very proud to serve my country and to serve with those who put on a uniform everyday.)

1630-1645. I pick up my son from his babysitter and go home.  Once home, since my wife works as a speech pathologist from home and usually works later than me, I start dinner for our daughter, who has since come home from school, and my son. Once done with that, I play with the kids, my favorite part of my day.

1700-ish. I hand the kids off to my wife for baths and then head downstairs to write. There I write for a few hours, depending how the mood and flow strike me, and then head back up to read to my daughter.  Currently we are reading James and the Giant Peach together.

After the kids are in bed, I sit with my wife for a bit to talk over the day or I go back down to write some more; and usually if I’m in the middle of a good flow, I will head back downstairs and spend the rest of the evening writing.

In a nutshell, I wake up early and go to bed late to follow my dream.  I have a supportive and understanding wife who believes in me so the long hours everyday don’t make me feel tired (well sometimes they do) but make me feel fortunate that I have the love and support to do what I love and chase after my dream.

  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

2 comments:

  1. You start your day at 0300 to write?! Yikes! "My writing is part compulsion, part passion, with a dash of insanity." - love it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maybe your crazy schedule contributes to some of the insanity that comes out in your writing. If so, keep it up! GREEN VALLEY is a wild ride, but I'd get right back in line for it over and over!

    ~Joyce Scarbrough

    ReplyDelete