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The Stars of Locust Ridge

The Stars of Locust Ridge by [Moody, Craig]

Genevieve Delany doesn’t have the easiest of lives. Nestled in the Tennessee hills, she resides in her family’s cabin virtually alone, attending high school, and alternately checking on and being checked on by her mother’s troubled brother, John. Gen, as she is called by her small family, finds herself overcome with any and every emotion possible for a young girl her age. From her newly discovered feelings for Kenneth, the son of Sevierville’s doctor, to her fascination with the moving stars that dance above Locust Ridge, to the night terrors that have begun to plague her, Gen is dealing with more than any one girl should ever face.

The Stars of Locust Ridge, by Craig Moody, is a mesmerizing tale of a young Tennessee girl caught up in a madness she cannot explain and isn’t sure she wants to fully understand. Genevieve is wise beyond her years but at the same time, she is terribly naive and impulsive. Raising herself and depending on occasional comfort from her uncle, who has his own set of issues to face, she remains confused about the way her teenage life is changing and has as many questions about her feelings as she does about her own background. Unanswered questions seem to be the focal point of Moody’s work.

I flew through Moody’s book and allowed my sleep to be preempted by the tragic turns of Genevieve’s life. There are so many things I want to expound upon, but I won’t spoil Moody’s work for readers. I will say this–Moody begins the book with numerous loose ends that the reader sees flying about like so many fall leaves in a whirlwind. They all seem to be related, but the reader doesn’t see how they could possibly ever connect. The true beauty of Gen’s story is that they, indeed, are connected and tie together neatly and into one fantastically written gift by the book’s end.

I am not sure I can say that Moody’s work isn’t completely realistic fiction. The way Moody presents Gen and her feelings about her supernatural encounters, the reader is left wondering, if not hoping, there might actually be life out there beyond our planet. I can honestly say that Gen’s humble life and her innocent outlook on her close encounters leaves me with a feeling much different from any other book I have ever read on the topic. The way Moody intertwines her tragic life with the notion of extraterrestrial beings is unique and captivating.

I could write for days on the treasure that is The Stars of Locust Ridge. Craig Moody, a new author for me, has skyrocketed to the top of my list of favorites. At just under 250 pages, it is a quick read with charming characters and a truly engaging plot that will leave you guessing to the very end. Nothing is more satisfying than trying to outguess yourself as you read, and Craig Moody succeeds in providing readers with just that type of reading experience.

Pages: 244 | ASIN: B07KSXPGJK

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His Name Was Ezra

His Name Was Ezra by [Moody, Craig]

His Name was Ezra is an amazing story of love and tragedy. Taking place in Mississippi during the racially-charged 1950’s and 60’s. Jim Crow laws and inherent bias steer much of the plot of the story. Ezra, a young black man, and Judy, a freckle-faced white woman, have the cards stacked against them as their longtime friendship slowly begins to develop into something more.

Craig Moody writes beautifully. He has a poetry to his words as they describe his characters and their setting. I live in the south so I know that Moody sets the scene impeccably, speaking of dry words falling to the ground like acorns and the swatting of hungry mosquitoes. He also throws in some local color with the dialogue between the characters. Every “you” is replaced by “ya.” Brother becomes “brotha.” Sister becomes “sista.”

His Name was Ezra is set in another time, but the story is still relevant today. Race relations are still imperfect. We have come a long way as a nation, but we have so much further to go. This book can aid in bridging the divide. It’s an important tool to pull back the curtain, so to speak, on those who continue to judge people based on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character as Dr. King would have us do.

Moody also pulls back the curtain on domestic abuse. Judy suffers the brunt of Billy’s aggression. He describes how Billy only hits her in areas that will be covered by clothing in public or around others. Judy takes it because she feels she has no other choice. She sacrifices her happiness, her health, everything, to try to ensure the safety of her brother and then her son. She becomes a shell of herself. Self-preservation is not on her to-do list ever.

Readers will identify with Moody’s well-developed characters. Judy loves Ezra and her family, forgiving her brother and sister over and over. Luke tries to help Judy while furthering his career, and gets a few priorities mixed up in the process. Chances are, readers will also recognize the more menacing characters that stomp through the chapters. Billy is the picture of perfection in the community. Good family. Good looks. Wife and child. However, Billy is a heavily flawed and dangerous monster. We all know someone who has turned out to be someone different than who we thought they were.

I’m giving His Name was Ezra by Craig Moody five out of five stars. I would give him ten if I could. He has a beautiful way of describing even the most ugly parts of humanity. The story was cohesive. The plot flowed well. There was never a dull moment as suspense ebbed and flowed throughout the story. This was a real page-turner for me, and I cannot wait to read more of Moody’s work.

Pages: 232 | ASIN: B079NP9JJ5

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The ’49 Indian

The '49 Indian by [Moody, Craig]

Back in the 1980’s when the LGBTQ community was severely marginalized. Back when AIDS was called GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency). Dustin Thomas struggled with his identity. Unbeknownst to him the place his parents likened with Sodom would be the beginning of his journey to understand his true self. At the age of 20, he gained the courage to walk through those doors. This would lay the foundation for the relationship he would later have with Gauge Paulson. How will they survive with only their restored 1949 Indian Motorcycle and hope? How will they navigate the complexity of their relationship? Will their Fort Lauderdale past follow them down the California Coast?

This book tells a very important story in the history of the LGBTQ community. There is a lot that people do not know about the struggle before members of the community could openly fight for their liberation. If for nothing else, read this book to truly understand the struggle. It provides an accurate albeit bleak picture of what life was like for the LGBTQ community in the 1980’s as well as the lengths they had to go to simply exist in the society.

This is a well written book and a moving tale. The style of writing is fitting for a story of this intensity and magnitude. It is emotive and gut wrenching. You find yourself rooting for young Dustin to overcome all the hurdles on his path.

The grammar is spotless with a flair that is just right, never feeling inappropriate for the tragic undertone of the story. The author has an uncanny ability to create a full dimensional mental picture with both his creative use of language and unique tone, giving an artistic feel to his writing.

This is a very informative book. There is a story to enjoy sure, but at the core of it is a lesson for human kind. At the end of it all you wonder why human beings cannot coexist in peace without judgement and creation of restrictive societal codes. What would really happen if everyone was accepted just as they were? This book is thought provoking in this way. You will also learn that love truly is powerful; against ignorance and debilitating superiority complexes.

Craig Moody has broken into the genre with a powerfully poignant book. This book tells a story that many need to hear.

Pages: 252 | ASIN: B06XD51X19

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