I just finished reading One Way by Jeff Lane. It is a self-published work that I think was first released in 2011 or 2012, I am not entirely certain. I was led to the novel by a YouTube creator SteveTalksBooksandStuff. I have been, lately, making the effort to read things that I, honestly, would not normally select. So, honestly, a self-published work recommended by a YouTube “booktuber” chap is one that in the past I would have not read. That being said, now that I have read the novel, I think that the plot and content is actually not too far off of the path I normally find my reading on; it was not that strange a selection.
I have mentioned a couple of times that it is a self-published work. I have often avoided self-published works because I really dislike reading unpolished/draft-level things. I have a particular self-published work on a bookshelf that I could not read past the first two pages what with the errors and uglyness. Here’s the facts: there were a couple of typos. I think about five. That is not terrible and I can see these are ones that “spell check” would not have caught. But still, a careful reading would fix this manuscript and perfect it. I do not want to seem nitpicky; I want to excuse the author for these things. I also want the author to not be bogged down by this stuff. Yes, it is his name on the cover, but I would bet he had review-readers. They should have helped find these errors, they let him down. And this is a novel that should not suffer these mistakes – because it is a really good novel.
This is a unique and suspenseful story with a great concept behind it. I do not want to give away ANY plot points whatsoever. Let me say that usually authors are unable to consistently carry “suspense” over a duration. Further, I have found that there is a specific science fiction element that many, many authors attempt to utilize, but it becomes their pitfall. In this book, the element is actually a big success; the author handled it with adept skill and I was very impressed. Both of these factors are huge reasons why I hope this author continues writing and gets whatever measure of commercial/artistic success that he is aiming for. (I recognize there are some folk that just want to write a good store and share it.)
Lane wrote a well-paced, consistent, suspenseful, harrowing story with just the right amounts of tension, background, and setting. Seriously, this is really well-written and because of that, I would move this author to the “must read” list. I would not want to rush him or his work…. but I want to read more great stories because I am a selfish gluttonous reader!
There were a couple lines that stood out more than the rest as far as interesting and resonant. In chapter 21 the main character Barry has a realization: “Apparently, his Rockport loafters were not optimal for this snowy trek.” pg. 131. This line really worked well right there in the story. The brand-name, the semi-sarcastic tone, the shock to reader that one’s footwear choice can be nearly life or death…. all worked to make this one line come across so lively and potent.
In chapter 15 we find: “Jenny felt uncomfortable, fidgety, like she had suddenly forgotten how to sit still.” pg. 91 This line hinging on that “forgotten” word choice really stuck with me. So often authors might write “she couldn’t sit still,” but that is not the same sense as “suddenly forgotten” – and if you have ever been very nervous or uncomfortable – it very much so is like forgetting how to be still as opposed to just “cannot” sit still. It is like knowing you used to be able to and not, for the life of you, currently remembering just how to do that. It is a very intuitive and careful writer that picked up on this.
I did not love the main character, Jenny, in the way that maybe I should have. And maybe one can sort of admire her or her choices, perhaps. However, she often comes across very snappish and mean. If the author had been able to make me, as a reader, like the character a bit more – I think I would give this five stars. I took an immediate distaste to the woman and, though I was rooting for her, I never really liked her much. I suspect that the impact of this novel would have been massive if the character was able to worm her way into the reader’s heart just a bit. Not that she does not have an impact whatsoever. Indeed, she is a gut punch and a resilient character and because of that it feels wrong to call her mean.
I also want to praise the author’s story for being the “correct” length. Not too long, not too condensed, well paced, and with a really good Epilogue that has so much usefulness. Usually, readers complain about endings a lot. This one ended very well.
Recommended for fans of thrillers/suspense. Really intense reading with just the right balance of pages and pacing. If I ever did a top five books of the year – I think this one would make that list.