Centralia – Mike Dellosso

Centralia by Mike Dellosso
Series: Jed Patrick #1
Published by Tyndale on June 1, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense
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Peter Ryan wakes up on a typical morning only to find his house empty, his wife and daughter nowhere to be found. His world is shattered after a phone call to a friend confirms the impossible: his wife and daughter died in a car accident he does not remember. Haunted by faint memories and flashes of details, Peter becomes convinced that something isn't right and begins to question reality. When he discovers a note in his daughter's handwriting, strange memories begin to surface that cause him to second-guess nearly everything he once believed. Suddenly armed men show up at Peter's home, turning the mysterious puzzle of his past into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. On the run and unsure whom to trust, Peter has to discover what's real and what isn't . . . before he loses everything.

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.