Things in Ditches
written by Jimmy Olsen
published by North Star Press of St. Cloud Inc.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I enjoy this book: Mr. Olsen had a lot of good stuff in this book. I have to quote my favorite line. It was the internal thoughts of a suicidal murderer on the run, “But of course he didn’t fear prison. He feared exposure –the world seeing him for what he really was. The mask of his life removed and him there naked and small as only God knew him.”
I thought that was profound and probably more common than we think that both criminals and non-criminals fear exposure more than jail. I also liked the ending of the book.
But overall, I found it outdated and sexist. Some of the male characters are Viet Nam Vets. All the Nam vets I know are past seventy. These guys were in their thirties and maybe, forties. It didn’t fit. There were also several scenes that really turned me off. Here’s one of many scenes that made my skin crawl:
“Once again she lay exposed. The plump mortician stood and pressed a fist into his lower back. That’s it, he said. ‘Hand me the cover.’
“Not quite.” Charlie remained on the ground near the woman’s bare feet. ‘Check her vagina.’”
The male characters often make references to how attractive the dead woman is and frequently discuss her vagina. Ewww, is the only word I can think of to accurately describe many scenes in this book.
About the book – from Goodreads: A murder mystery novel. The story of Phillip “Dutch” Cleland, a man with a hidden past and a future about to explode in his face. A seemingly average man whose love for two women drives him to such extremes that deception, even murder and suicide are not longer unthinkable.
When a lovely corpse is discovered near Dutch’s home town, the nearby ditches begin to yield a harvest of secrets, none of them comforting for Dutch. Soon he is forced to flee for his life, before his past and the police slip a noose around his neck.
Things In Ditches is peopled with small town characters that are so humorous and eccentric, their oddball antics enliven every paragraph and page. A reader can’t help but be reeled in by the strange citizens of Willow River, until soon discovering they’re really not so different from all of us and Dutch’s story is the oldest story on earth; good and evil, betrayal and laughter. And finally, the power of love and friendship, forging one man’s determination to overcome all odds, even death.