I heard about this book through viral marketing, not something that usually appeals to me, but for the sake of this site I put aside my cynicism about how one rises up through the Amazon charts and decided to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. I’m glad I did. Literary fiction is usually up my street. Contemporary thriller, only sometimes.
From the very opening, the ‘literary’ fiction box was ticked with the beautiful prosaic description. OF A CAR CRASH. That was a master stroke. It worked. And I wondered why it worked? I was put in mind of the many films that I’ve seen (in a former life as a screenwriter) and how often the use of cinematic lighting can kill off the veracity of a scene or movie (Killing Private Ryan springs to mind… I mean, going into war beautifully back lit?) However, in this novel, the opposite is true. The heightened language actually enables one to fully engage with the horror of the initial car crash. So far so good… the writer has us hooked. Would the rest of the novel live up to expectation?
I’m happy to report that it did. What really did it for me in this excellent novel was the depth and detail. This applies to both characters and plot/narrative. Logan really takes you into the depths of his characters souls, using the kind of details that show up only in a well crafted novel (and that other writers appreciate because they know how hard it is to achieve). There is a panoply of characters one cannot ‘like’ but Logan manages to keep you engaged with them, almost as if you are rubbernecking a car crash! Giving compelling motivations to unlikeable characters is a skill that Logan pulls off every time.
The consequence of in depth, detailed, controlled writing (especially interesting in a novel where one of the characters is obsessed with Chaos Theory) was that reading it became like waiting for the moment of impact… that’s the best way I can explain the suspense engendered by the author. The imagery is strong, haunting and sometimes horrific, but then you wouldn’t expect to walk away unscathed from a car crash now would you?
In conclusion then, what matters is not how you find out about a good book, but that you FIND a good book. For me, The Survival of Thomas Ford justifies the premise behind the Indie ebook review site. While all that glitters is not gold and while climbing up the Amazon charts may be dismissed as super good marketing, if you allow your cynicism to dictate your choices, or listen to the detractors who are constantly telling us that there’s nothing other than second rate tripe being self published, you’ll miss out on some of the best literature being written today. With this novel, Logan has proved that however he got there, (and there’s a story behind that to curl your hair) he deserves to be at the top of the pile! I would certainly recommend the book to anyone who loves good literature. I want to read more of his output and I don’t care what format it’s in. He’s a great writer. He should be read. Conventional publishers failed him time and again – to their shame – and I for one am glad that he finally bit the bullet and gave us the opportunity to ‘discover’ him. I look forward to reading more of his work.
Reviewed by Cally Phillips
The Survival of Thomas Ford is available in Kindle format
Find out more about John A.A.Logan