Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: The End Is Near by Harry Ramble

ISBN #: 978-0-9816502-2-7
Page Count: 356
Copyright: 2010

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

On his forty-fifth birthday, as his hostages dozed fitfully and state police prepared to take him by force, Nathan Huffnagle penned nine last words into a journal recounting a remarkable week's worth of events.  Then he placed the cold steel circle of a shotgun barrel beneath his chin, gripped the trigger, and pulled.  And his life began again.

Nathan had hoped to pay back one injustice with another, and tip the scales back to even.  But so few of us have a real talent for havoc and vengeance and violence.  And our cherished grievances and justifications rarely match up so neatly with the realities of our lives.  Now, frustrated at every turn and pestered by a series of seemingly angelic visitors, Nathan makes a hospital-bed deal with Death - the Big Guy himself.  Will he receive the release he desires?  Or a new lease on life?

The end is always near, but it's never too late to live.

My Review:


When I first received the book and saw the cover I wondered what in the world it had to do with the end being near.  Then, I read the summary on the back and wondered if the items on the front cover were what Nathan took with him during his hostage situation.

I'm not going to tell you if that was correct or not, but the items on the front do come into play in the book.  Needless to say, I like the cover because it made me think and ponder over the meaning of it.


Right away, the book introduces the reader to hospital-bed Nathan.  Then the reader meets pre-hostage situation Nathan.  The reader then journeys back-and-forth between these two Nathans until hostage situation Nathan is introduced.

From there, the reader gets to take a Scrambler-like ride (for those familiar with fair rides) between the three Nathans until the end of the book.  You get comfortable heading in one Nathan-direction then get jerked back towards another Nathan-direction.  While this sounds like a mind-bending situation, it actually promotes a feeling of intrigue and makes the reader want to know and read more.


Nathan is a sad, sad man.  I cannot imagine holding the grudges he did.  While I know that there are people out there that actually do hold these types of grudges, I still cannot imagine being able to do such a thing.  Nathan comes from a broken, abusive home and is very unpopular in school and in life.  I think it's safe to say Nathan had self-esteem issues.

Randy was a bully growing up.  This was his way of acting out his broken-home life.  He grew up to be a pretty decent human being who regretted how he treated people in high school.

Death is a person often talked about in this book, but not seen until the very end.  When Death finally is revealed, it is in an unexpected form ... something no reader would expect.


I would recommend this smartly-written novel to those who enjoy a good hostage situation that has some unexpected twists and turns.

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