Centralia – Mike Dellosso

It’s been a few years since Mike Dellosso gave readers a new novel. Sure, we had his ebook novella a while back, but Centralia marks a new publisher and maybe a new life in publishing. Let me just say it bluntly. I like Mike. He’s a great guy. He’s (at least right now) an average writer. I really enjoyed his sophomore novel, Scream. The rest of his books are just too generic: a mindless assembly of stereotypes and been-there done-thats that result in a readable but unmemorable novel.

I had hoped Centralia would be different. Another author I love and trust, Ronie Kendig, writes for the back cover blurb that Bourne addicts can’t afford to miss this novel. All due respect, Ronie, but Bourne addicts already know this story. Dellosso takes a popular concept—the ex-Black Ops agent with forced memory loss—and just…well…regurgitates his version of that story. It’s just generic and bland. The real life Centralia has an incredibly mysterious back story, one worth telling, but Dellosso simply could not break out of the rut of just telling a run of the mill action novel.

Peter Ryan wakes up one morning to find his wife and daughter gone. Panicked, he calls a friend. Your wife and daughter died, Pete. But those words and his memories don’t add up. He finds a handscrawled note from his daughter mentioning Centralia and then armed men show up at his door to kill him. Ryan’s now on the run and unsure who to trust, unsure of who he even is. It’s a race against the mysterious powers-that-be to find his family and, even more difficult, find his identity.

The whole book is pretty much a chase sequence that ends up in Centralia. Once there, Dellosso does engage in some pretty tricky head games, as Ryan has to figure out if those in charge are telling him the truth.

But overall, Dellosso’s effort just falls flat. This story’s been told dry and without an y special twist on it, there’s no real reason to read this one again. The writing is solid, the pacing is fine…all the mechanics of a great novel are there. But the plot and the story are lacking. Would’ve made a great popcorn summer movie. Not so great as a novel.

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Author: Josh Olds

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