Book Review: Things In Ditches by Jimmy Olsen

Thanks to author Jimmy Olsen and Hoffman Press I received a copy of Things in Ditches for the purposes of review.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”500px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”Vicky Johnson’s killer rolled onto his right side, drew his knees up under the warm covers and cautiously peeked through the darkness at the crisp digits of the clock-radio counting his last moments on earth, death waiting patiently for him to shower and dress. The secret he thought, is not to open your eyes and let the world in. “So begins the story of 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 no longer unthinkable.”[/dropshadowbox]

First of all something you should know about me is that I’ve never been much of a read-for-entertainment kind of gal.  I like to read to educate myself which I guess I find entertaining.   When I was required to do a book report in school was the only times I can remember reading fiction novels.  Thinking back now I wonder if I had a problem with attention deficit because I found my mind running faster than my eyes could read the words on the page and it would cause tons of frustration.

That being said – I could not put this book down.  As an adult I’ve grown to enjoy watching the real life mysteries on shows like 20/20, Primetime and Dateline.  Reading this book made me feel like I was watching one of these stories as it unfolds behind the scenes.  I don’t want to give too much away, BUT in the first few pages of the story the you realize you are beginning this story from the viewpoint of the murderer.  The voice of the story is third person omnipotent so you get to see and hear what each person is thinking and saying.  Formatting the story in such a way does not allow for continuity of thought from one viewpoint, but allows you to see the story come together from several different angles.  This style drew me in. I felt as though I was watching a movie unfold behind my eyes.  The story had to jump back a few times to allow you to see how all the characters’ actions overlapped to create this perfectly seamless mystery.

I found myself identifying with and even rooting for the murderer guilty of a crime of passion – even if it was passionate hatred that laid latent in his soul until given the opportunity to resurface.  This at first unnerved me until I began to see the character as a real person who’d gotten themselves into a real, big mess some of which was beyond his control.  The whole story unfolds in a small, one cop Minnesota town where everyone knows everyone else and their business.  To complicate matters there is a massive blizzard bearing down on the state.

Things In Ditches is a story of passion, betrayal, intrigue, treachery and, of course, murder.  The imagery that Mr. Olsen elicits with his mastery of language is gut-wrenching, majestic and fear-inspiring.  There were several times I felt like reaching out and shaking the characters as I read their stories.  I was involved and invested in the story.  If that’s not the sign of a exquisitely woven tale by a gifted author then I don’t know what is.

If you enjoy murder mysteries and love to read I highly recommend Things In Ditches by Jimmy Olsen.  You can find this book on Amazon for instant download to read on your Kindle device OR directly on your PC, iPad, iPod or Android device with the Kindle app.   I actually read it on my iPad even though I had the book handy.  This made it easy for me to read it late at night while everyone else was asleep.  There were times I was starting to get sleepy but I couldn’t put the book down I had to read. . . . just. . . one. . . more. . . page. . . . before I . . . . zzzzzzz.

I’m currently in the process of reading another Jimmy Olsen book which is a collection of short stories called The Hero of Blind Pig Island.  A few stories in and I’m already amazed at the detail, emotion and wonder he can weave into each story.


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