Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Book review: "The Never Open Desert Diner" by James Anderson

Ben Jones is the antihero of this slow burn of a novel. Ben is a truck driver on an almost deserted stretch of highway in Utah. Ben doesn't have many customers (paying or otherwise) on Route 117 but the ones he does have are, uh, colorful. Walter is the man who runs the titular diner and is probably Ben's best friend, though Walter can be "a cranky asshole" sometimes he will surprise you with an offer to make you breakfast.There is also two brother who live in train boxcars very far from any railroad, and a preacher with a migrating cross, and more. Ben has a lot on his mind one day when he pulls of the road to take a pee  break when he stumbles across a naked woman playing a beautiful cello in an abandoned model home.....

The book unravels slowly, but in a pleasing way not a "oh my gosh get on with it already" type of way. Everything, including some very interesting stories in regards to the backgrounds of Ben's customers and Ben himself. The fun fact that Ben is half Native American and half Jewish would be interesting enough but there's so much more!) There is also the most disgusting recipe for a "birthday cake" that I've ever heard. And someone gets cut in half by barbed wire.

I enjoyed this book because of: realistic and complex characters, interesting and unexpected twists and an ending that was surprising but satisfying. (Though I'm still on the fence on the cover. I like the silver and black and white but is it too many fonts on one cover? I don't know....) A high 3.5 stars out of 5 from me!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books

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