Dec 28, 2010

About Books Blog 29: Drummer Boy


Author: Scott Nicholson
Genre: Supernatural Thriller/Horror

Favorite Line

“But there was something shrinks would never acknowledge: once you’ve peered into the black heart of hell, once you’ve ridden the nightmare rainbow all the way down, ‘normal’ no longer existed.”

Summary (from Haunted Computer Books)

On a Blue Ridge Mountain peak, three boys hear the rattling of a snare drum deep inside a cave known as "The Jangling Hole," and the wind carries a whispered name.

An old man at the foot of the mountain believes something inside the Hole has been disturbed by a developer's bulldozers. A local reporter is determined to solve the supernatural mysteries that have been shared for generations. Sheriff Frank Littlefield, haunted by past failures, must stand against a public enemy that has no fear of bullets, bars, or justice.

On the eve of a Civil War re-enactment, the town of Titusville prepares for a staged battle, but the weekend warriors aren't aware they will soon be fighting an elusive army. A troop of Civil War deserters, trapped in the Hole by a long-ago avalanche, is rising from a dark slumber, and the war is far from over. And one misfit kid is all that stands between a town and the cold mouth of hell...

What I Thought of This Book

Drummer Boy is one of the many books that Scott Nicholson so graciously gave me to review. Thank you dear Scott for being so generous with your review copies.

I had some mixed feelings about Drummer Boy, but in the end I enjoyed the ride. On one hand, it is wonderfully written. Each event flows wonderfully to the next. The young main characters pull at your heartstrings. Of course, I love Scott Nicholson’s writing style. I love his sense of humor and the little pop culture references he adds in are always amusing. I must say that for some reason I got a real kick out of all the comic book references in this one.

On the other hand, this book is very much steeped in Civil War history. That is not the factor that bothered me for I enjoy all sorts of history. The sad fact is my brain is not wired for reading things that discuss war or the military. I do well and actually enjoy watching documentaries about the subject. I don’t do to bad at reading it as long as it doesn’t get to technical in terms of ranks and regiments. However, when I sit down to read in depth things about actual battles I start to get totally confused. I seriously do not know how I passed history class. Due to my little mental block, I felt like I got lost on certain important plot points. It really isn’t the book’s fault at all that I have such trouble differentiating the difference between a colonel and a general. Of course I can now, because I had to look them up in the dictionary. Wow! Now I just sound extraordinarily dumb.

There are also characters in Drummer Boy that are truly hard to love. I suppose this is not a bad thing. Nobody would enjoy a book if there were not some horrible people mixed in with the lovely ones. I mean there would be no excitement. These characters are written to be a deplorable as they are, and let me tell you the author succeeded. There were a few sections in the novel that made my inner feminist cringe. However, yet again I felt that those choices were justified considering the characters. 

I must say that the fabulous way Drummer Boy is told for the most part out weighed my little qualms. It is definitely a quality read in terms of good writing form and great character development. Perhaps I should warn you that it has one of those beautifully poignant and tragic endings, but those can be good for you to read once and a while.

Facts I Found Interesting

Drummer Boy shares a connection with Scott’s novel The Red Church, with the character Sheriff Frank Littlefield. I haven’t read that novel yet, but there are a few references to events in The Red Church in Drummer Boy.

The Movie

There’s no movie as of yet. I don’t know this book strikes me as something that would be better as just a book. Not that it could not be arranged to make it work, but I don’t know it just wouldn’t feel the same. I rather liked knowing that exact thoughts and feelings of the characters in this book, and you just can’t do that with a film.

Music To Read By

Favorite Albums

My musical choices influenced by the historical subject matter of the book. Thus, I like listening to country and bluegrass music. My big album favorites were the O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack and the Cold Mountain Soundtrack. Ironically, Drummer Boy refers to the book and film Cold Mountain. Weirdly enough I had just listened to the soundtrack before I read that reference. Cool right? Usually when I create a playlist I try to use songs that fit the plot of the novel, but this time I went more for songs that created a mood.

Drummer Boy Playlist

The Great High Mountain - Jack White
Cripple Creek - Nickel Creek
Hard Time Killing Floor Blues - Chris Thomas King
Personal Jesus - Johnny Cash
Doubting Thomas - Nickel Creek
You Will Be My Ain True Love - Alison Krauss
Oh Death - Ralph Stanley
(Note: I'm fully aware that I used this song on the last Scott Nicholson book I read, but heck it fits this one too. I used a different artist this time at least.)
Ashokan Farewell - Nashville Chamber Orchestra

That's all darlings. I'll be back later with this week's short story. I put all my writing efforts into this review today. Thanks for reading. Keep it shiny!

1 comment:

Author Scott Nicholson said...

Thanks, Jazz, I saw Ralph Tanley a few months ago--when he sang "Oh Death," you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium. Even the children knew to be quiet! I appreciate your thoughts.

Scott Nicholson