Review Copy: Centralia

Disclaimer: Centralia by Mike Dellosso was provided by Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

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 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.

Centralia is a different sort of book than what I usually get from publishers. It was refreshing to read something from a different genre, and it was interesting to see how Dellosso incorporated Christianity into a genre that usually excludes it. And while the religious aspects were not nearly as prevalent as the action sequences, overall I thought Dellosso did a decent job of combining the two.

The action, however, was a bit mechanical in writing. It’s hard to write action without making it seem either like a role-playing game or a blow-by-blow description, and Dellosso tended to do a lot of the latter, which while effective and seamless in some of the scenes, was clunky and mechanical in others. Things like “he threw a right at the man’s jaw and then finished with a left to his abdomen. Then he raised his leg and…etc.” are distracting to read, at least for me, because my brain tends to fill in the gaps while reading and having something described in blow-by-blow form like that means that I concentrate more on the words than on the scene, if that makes any sense. This isn’t true of all the scenes in Centralia, but some I definitely thought were just overly descriptive and repetitive.

I also didn’t really understand the plot. Something that didn’t make any sense to me at all was how this Centralia thing was kidnapping both kids and their mothers. Why in the world do they want the mothers? And why is nobody wondering why mothers and kids are missing? It seemed like that was thrown in there just so that the mother could be with her daughter in those particular scenes in the book, so that Dellosso could keep them together and not have to come up with a way to get the mother into the picture. But it didn’t make any sense, not to me.

Centralia was refreshing if just for the fact that it’s different than the usual historical romance books that I get from publishers, and I thought for the most part Dellosso did a decent job of integrating Christianity into a genre that usually has no religious aspects at all. However, I thought the action scenes tended to get mechanical and overly “let me give you this blow-by-blow description” and some of the plot aspects didn’t make any sense.

My rating: 2/5

Warnings: Violence, death.

Genre: Realistic, Christian

You can buy this here: Centralia

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