Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Man Who Saved Two Notch: A Review

R.W. Ripley's The Man Who Saved Two Notch is a western style post-apocalyptic novel set in a desert badlands after 75 years of warfare have left society a collection of disheveled outposts.

R.W. (Richard W.) Ridley has won the Ippy (independent Publisher) Award for his YA zombie horror series The Oz Chronicles.  Per his various bios, he lives in Charleston, SC with a number of pets, and a beautiful Italian-American wife. He seems to have some sort of interest in Big Foot.
The story has more Western a feel than post-apocalyptic, but the p-a element is necessary to introduce some of the folks and themes that occur in the novel.
A small isolated village has found out that there are marauders coming to attack.  The decrepit, despotic, religious leadership decides to send off a twelve year old boy to find the semi-legendary gun for higher, Abel Decker.  The story is something of a questing tale, with the boy, and a young mute girl sent along to help him, running into all sorts of unusual folks along the way.  A number of the themes, and the language, is adult, although it is not pornographic in nature.  The story is told in a somewhat satirical fashion, much like the gritty cowboy movies of the 1970s.  Like the 1970s fare, it is not the cowboy good guys saving the good citizens, but that of a grim downtrodden anti-hero saving the corrupt and incompetent.  As is common for this type of story, a prostitute is one of the more sympathetic and helpful characters that they run into.
Did I like it?  It was o.k. but not stellar.  The author does a good job of imbuing the various actors on the stage with a certain amount of personality, often with only a few lines.  However, the satirical-comic, very over the top tone kept me from taking the fate of the two most sympathetic characters (the boy and the girl) very seriously.  There just wasn't enough suspension of disbelief to make it work.  So I will call it a very limited recommendation. 
We now come to our two descriptive (not qualitative) ratings: 1 to 7 with 4 the mid-point and 7 high. Realism does not include the cause of the collapse or apocalypse, but is otherwise an assessment of how close to today's world is the setting. Could you imagine your friends, or families living through the situation. Readability is not literary merits, but literally how quick and painless of a read.
The novel talks about realistic issues, but the portrayal is not particularly realistic.  It is set far enough into the future that anybody old enough to remember our world as it is today will be at least 80.  The goofiness just gets too much in the way: call it a three.
The novel is a fairly easy read.  There are a few twists and turns but the author does a good job of what is going on.  It is not a page turner, but does move along nicely: a five.

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