Gravestone – Travis Thrasher

Gravestone Travis Thrasher
Gravestone by Travis Thrasher
Series: Solitary Tales #2
Published by David C. Cook on June 1, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Speculative, Young Adult
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five-stars

His Fear Will Soon Turn to Anger….At first, Chris Buckley was simply warned. And watched. But as Chris unravels the haunting riddles of the town of Solitary, he finds that much more than the life of a town is at stake. Whether facing a pastor with a house full of skeletons or a cousin he never knew existed, Chris is forced to choose between light and darkness, life and nightmarish death. Every choice he makes reminds him that the unthinkable has already happened—and if he trusts the wrong person, it may happen again. This second book in the Solitary Tales continues Chris’s journey toward finding out who he is and what his own role is in the darkness suffocating his tiny new hometown. Filled with shocking twists, Gravestone is a tale of a teenager thrown into a battle over a town, a secret—and ultimately his own soul.

Shattered. There’s no other way to describe Chris Buckley’s life. Absolutely shattered by the events that ended Solitary, Chris now has to return to school like everything is a-ok when in reality nothing has ever been more wrong. Last year, when Travis Thrasher released Solitary, the first book in The Solitary Tales, I was absolutely blown away by everything about the book. Theme. Plot. Beginning. Middle. End. Writing style. In fact, I picked it as my favorite book of 2010.

Needless to say, I was highly anticipating Gravestone. I had no idea where Thrasher was taking the story, I just hoped it would be an exciting and fascinating journey. Second installments of series can be difficult. First installments introduce the world—characters, initial plot, overarching theme, and many other things that make for a good stories. They’re like the initial downhill plunge of a roller coaster. Maybe kind of slow at first as the world is built, but then you whoosh down that initial hill. The momentum for the series is set. Second installments can either coast along and take things easy or take the reader on a series of dips, dives, and loops that make for an exhilarating ride. Gravestone is definitely the latter.

The book begins with Chris trying to somehow go back to normal life and ignore the catastrophic events at the end of Solitary that are now being covered up. He’s got to do something, but what can he do? In the journey to find justice and seek out the evil in Solitary, Chris finds a few new friends, a few new enemies, and many more questions. The more Chris looks into the matter, the more he finds that the source of evil in Solitary rests on New Beginnings Church and Pastor Jeremiah Marsh.

Gravestone, is in a way the tale of Chris Buckley v. Jeremiah Marsh. The odd hints on the pastor received in Solitary blossom as the pastor unveils his true colors. But everyone but Chris—and maybe a few others—seem oblivious to it. Thrasher respectfully moves on from the shocking end of Solitary, giving it the emotional weight it deserved without bogging down the pacing of the story. Perhaps my favorite parts were the scenes of Chris speaking with Iris at Crag’s Inn, where he ends up getting a job. So much alluded to, so much left unsaid, such a great storyline.

Like Solitary, Gravestone ends on cliffhanger that’s jaw dropping. It answers as many questions as it raises, for as one layer is revealed a new layer presents itself. Where will Chris go from here? I have no idea…but I can’t wait to find out. Hopefully five years from now, The Solitary Tales will be known as the series that launched Thrasher’s writing into the bestseller’s lists. It’s certainly deserving of being there.

five-stars

About Travis Thrasher

Travis Thrasher

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, celebrities and pastors.

With the childhood goal of pursuing a writing career starting in third grade, Thrasher worked for 13 years at Tyndale House Publishers after graduating college. His experience working with as Author Relations Manager allowed him to understand the writing life as well as training him to work with a variety of personalities. This experience has proven to be invaluable with varied writing projects in the decade he’s been a full-time writer.

His novels are as diverse as the people he’s worked with, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. Publishers Weekly said “Sara and Ethan are two of the most real and sensitive lovers to grace the genre” when reviewing his first novel, The Promise Remains. They also stated “Thrasher demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre” in a review for Isolation years later. His readers have enjoyed the unpredictability of his novels, whether it’s due to a unique style such as second person or a twist they never saw coming.

Thrasher’s storytelling ability has also allowed him to work with others on their books, from musicians like country musician Scotty McCreery and Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. He has also penned novels based on songs such as Paper Angels with Jimmy Wayne and novelizations for films including Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Upcoming projects continue to expand his talents, with projects including The Black Auxiliary about the lives of the 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.

Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

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