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Sliding Beneath the Surface: [The St. Augustine Trilogy: Book I] Paperback – Sep 15 2011
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About the Author
Doug Dillon has been writing for adults and young people since 1984. An award winning educator, he spent many years as a classroom teacher, school administrator, and coordinator of student high-risk programs. Doug has written for Prentice Hall, Harcourt, Mitchell Lane Publishers, Boys’ Life Magazine, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling.
Top Customer Reviews
I found that the novel was quite hard to relate to at times, mostly because the paranormal does not tie back to reality in any way. It makes it hard to imagine yourself in the place of the characters. Also, I felt that the characters could use some more development which would have made it easier to relate to them as individuals.
Even though this was an extremely well written book, as a whole it was one of those novels where a great deal happens but it doesn't really catch my attention making it hard to get into. I found myself just floating from page to page to see how it ended.
The synopsis really drew me in, the promise of a good ghost story. and it did. I think I read this book in a matter of days -I wanted to find out what happened next. The story is written well, and everything is eventually explained. I like how this wasn't a story about possession/spiritualism but just a normal human who got lost after death and couldn't comprehend he was dead. He reaches out to his ancestor many times over, Jeff, and because of Jeff's special gift is able to help him out. Jeff's special gift ,however, puts him in grave danger.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a mild ghost story. Teens may be delighted to read this one too. There is very mild language, a few graphic scenes but nothing over the top. A great book to curl up to.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is a very unique book as I cannot compare it to any other book I have read in the past. And I have read a lot of paranormal books. It has history, paranormal experiences, mystery as it is like a puzzle to figure out, action and a budding romance. When I say history I mean that the author, Doug Dillon really did his homework in order to recreate a scene that I believe no one will question. I have never read a book that has a shaman as a character in the book and it opened my eyes and mind to the possibilities. It also had me question some of my own past experiences and rethink a few things that has happened in my life.
Because this book has had such an effect on me as a reader I purchased An Explosion of Being: An American Family's Journey into the Psychic [New Edition] also by Doug Dillon and Barbara Dillon, his wife. I'd almost like to see if it gives me any insight as to where Doug got the idea for this book. :)
This book hooked me from the beginning with Jeff and his telling of the story. The intro to the book cracked me up and gave me a feel for Jeff as the main character. Jeff is a unique teenage boy that is smart but has some family problems in which leads to anger management issues. He is then faced with paranormal dreams so he turns to his friend Carla, a witty teenage female that surprised me more than once with her smart mouth come backs. Carla then leads Jeff to Lobo, an old Native American Shaman, who is blunt and direct. Jeff doesn't know whether to run away or stay when things get worse, careful not to endanger Carla, he almost runs away from what could change his life and others forever.
With all that said, I must say I love the mystery of the books cover and finding out how it plays into the book itself, the visual is quite amazing. What is it you say? Well I'm not telling, you'll have to purchase the book to find out. And yes it is a mystery and puzzle piece...to the story itself.
The main character Jeff is hilarious even when he is freaking out. If I wasn't laughing I was saying OMG that can't be happening, then laughing again at something else that was said or done soon after. Carla, his friend, helps him get to the root of his problems when Jeff starts to have painful constant headaches and dreams that wont go away. She brings him to her friend Lobo (an old Native American Shaman)who seems mean and rude, but leads Jeff down a path that will uncover the puzzle behind his troubles.
The story is written in Jeff's POV and the story is well written from beginning to end. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to see what adventure Jeff and Carla embark on next.
Following Jeff Golden, you see this story as told from his perspective. And boy was Dillon right on the money in portraying a 15 year old's mind!! Through this series you learn about Jeff's past, Carla's past and Lobo is kind of their guide through their "now" journey. The weird dreams, the alternate realities, copied images of people that they make themselves, ghosts, shaman's...and the list goes on. This book keeps you on your toes every step of the way.
I loved Sliding beneath the surface and I believe that people who like ghost stories and paranormal books will too! Give it a try, Dillon won't let you down!!
Ok, so first of all a disclaimer, this book is probably more of a 3 1/2 stars for me and loses a star because I absolutely hate when in a first person narrative the character talks to me knowing I'm reading their story. The whole, "oh wait I'll get back to that in a moment" thing drives me nuts. First person isn't my favorite narrative voice in the first place, but first person breaking the fourth wall, grrrrrrrrr!
Jeff has just moved to town recently. With a absent mother and no real home life he has developed a strong bond with a girl, Carla, down the street. As things begin to happen to Jeff he can't explain Carla takes him to meet her friend Lobo. An older Indian gentleman who has a strange ability to know what you're thinking and know things about you that he has no business knowing. Lobo explains to Jeff that after his bike accident he has abilities others don't. He can see the worlds within worlds of the reality around us. But Jeff has no control over those powers and finds himself in danger as an ancient spirit keeps trying to contact him. Jeff finds himself thrust into a world with rules he doesn't understand trying to figure out what is happening around him and gain even a little control over his new "powers." He finds himself splitting away from his body and seeing double, as things trip him up and send his consciousness to another reality. As more details of the ancient spirit trying to get his attention become known Jeff and Carla find themselves delving into the details of one particular battle in the Seminole War. Only finding out everything they can will help them free the spirit trapped in it's endless loop and let things return to normal.
And with that out of the way here's the good and bad of this book for me.
Oh man I do love me some history! The way Mr. Dillon incorporated his history of the Seminole Wars into this novel was fantastic! I loved the links to the future descendants and the descriptions of the battle they were trapped in. He made that very real for me. The last third of this book was AWESOME!
I really liked the characters here as well. Carla had such great spunk, Lobo was interesting and just enough off kilter to be interesting without being overly creepy, and Jeff is the great everyman foil for a kid thrust into circumstances out of his control.
The mythology of the worlds within worlds bit was an interesting concept as well. I liked seeing how our perception of the world could be very narrow. There's something very cool about how all knowing Lobo could be without really knowing exactly what was going to happen next.
There's a saying in making films, show don't tell. You never want to leave your audience feeling like your just lecturing them or inundating them with information, you want them to discover it for themselves as they live through the circumstances you have going on. This, to me, was the biggest fault of this novel. I really felt through the first 2/3 of this book every piece of exposition was being lectured to me in big spats of words, most often coming from Lobo. I wanted Jeff to really discover more of what he needed to know himself through his actions, not be told outright by Lobo. It felt like something would happen to Jeff and then I'd have 5 pages of Lobo explaining theory and convincing Jeff that what happened happened before something else would happen to Jeff and the cycle would repeat. Right up until Jeff got sucked into the battle at the end. Then I was with him. He had to figure out what was going on and how to survive himself.
While it was also a really cool thing, Lobo's all-knowingness was frustrating as well. It took away from Jeff being able to figure things out for himself and instead lent to Lobo just telling him what was happening and how to react.
This is a minor thing, but Carla and Jeff's relationship in the beginning took me awhile to figure out. They felt like they were too close for such a short acquaintance. I was thrown when I found out they had only known each other for a month. I didn't feel like their surroundings and relationship was clear right off the bat. When I finally got told what the actual date was I was I did a mental "huh?" as I somehow had been picturing us in the middle of summer. Same thing when I found out how short of a time Jeff had actually lived there. Now it is also entirely possible I missed some clues in the early pages, but it still threw me a little.
It took me some time to get into this one. But the story picked up pace the further into it I got. If it wasn't for a few small personal pet peeves this would probably have been a 4 star book for me. I think there's a good beginning with this authors work and see a lot of potential for his writing to develop.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story. I was fairly confused at first, but everything eventually locked into place. The story telling seemed as delicate as the carved balls in the story, and at times I felt like I was missing a piece, but then it all slid into place.
There were a few annoying things that kept me from giving it a 5 star. One of which is using OK so much. Its just a pet peeve, as I prefer okay. Another was near the end with the studdering from cold. I've never seen it done like "cccold" instead of "c-c-cold",and at first I didn't realize it was from shivering and I thought the editor went on lunch and missed a lot of typos. There were a few other small things, but not nearly as distracting as the two examples given. This book also didn't seem like a YA book. To me that fine, as I've technically aged past that group, but he characters seemed much older than their given age, which did throw me off at first.
Overall, I did enjoy this book, and would suggest it for anyone that would like a paranormal twist to a historic storyline.
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