At some point Vicki Peterson's new book Swerve must have caught my attention because I requested it from my library. But I don't remember how or why. I just know it sat on my hold list for weeks. When I got it I still didn't remember why I ordered it. But I dove into it and found that it is an exciting, slightly gruesome, thriller.

Kristine Rush is a physician's assistant who has sworn to do no harm. She is hiding from a dark past and is determined to stay in the light for the rest of her life. But when she stops at a disgusting, deserted rest stop while driving through the Mojave Desert she encounters the personification of darkness. (Not literally.)

As she is changing out of her scrubs and into a fancy cashmere/shorts outfit someone enters the restroom and assaults her. When she comes to, her fiance is missing and so is his phone. Then she gets a call from her own phone, which starts a macabre treasure hunt through the desert and into her past.

She essentially has 24 hours to do a lot of bizarre, despicable, or confusing deeds at various specific locations. Each time she goes to her next destination she is given another one. One thing that really works in this book is the intense pressure she is under. She never has time to stop, think, or really plan. Unfortunately the reader has plenty of time and will likely find some parts of the novel very hard to believe.

When I finished the book I handed it to my middle son, who read 100 pages or so and gave it back. He said he couldn't believe much of what was happening, or the theoretical motivation behind the characters' behavior. As Stephen King says in Danse Macabre, the disbelief we have to suspend to really get into a story is not an easy thing to lift. It's more of a lead balloon than a helium balloon. (That is a very loose paraphrase.) With my son being unable to do the heavy lifting, the book was more of a chore and an annoyance than anything else. So take that into consideration when you decide if you want to read Swerve or not.

I definitely agreed with him on some points. Kristine is on a trip to a fancy party at her very upscale future mother-in-law's house when she stops to change her clothes. She is putting on a very nice, if casual, outfit. Would she really do that in a filthy public restroom that reeks of “human waste”? I can't imagine that she would. If she absolutely had to change at that very moment, I would think she would feel more comfortable doing it behind the building. And that is just the first of a series of actions that seem untrue to the character.

That being said, Swerve is a fast-paced story with a lot, and I mean a lot, going on. As with most thrillers it's fairly easy to figure out who the bad guy is. It's not a mystery where you put on your deducting hat; it's a thrill ride where you hang onto your hat and hope you're still in one piece when it's over.

You can read an excerpt here, but it is a Google Books excerpt, which means random pages can't be accessed. It makes for some disjointed reading, but should still give you a feel for the novel. http://books.simonandschuster.com/Swerve/Vicki-Pettersson/9781476798578/...

If you choose to purchase the novel using this Amazon affiliate link I will receive a finder's fee, which helps keep this site running. My thanks if you do.

Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat is a little more hands on than the usual fare. As you probably already know, around a third of the food we eat is made possible by little critters called pollinators. The most popular/known of these is the bee. Unfortunately as humanity takes over more and more land the pollinators have to travel further to find food, which in turn creates food for us.

To help combat this citizens can grow their own spaces for pollinators. They don't have to be large and a new website in support of tiny spaces has launched. It goes through the steps necessary to build a window box to attract and nourish pollinators. You can find out more here: http://www.pollinator.org/windowbox