Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ark by John Heldon

From Amazon - John, the narrator, is a guy who just recently retired, hoping to devote his golden years to writing, and continue his passion as a booster for his alma mater's men's basketball program at Sunnyside College, a small, barely Division I school in Delaware. He has no idea what kind of passionate involvement he'll be getting into. He still lives in the area. and one night while driving home close to campus, he gets the urge to reminisce by driving over to the Ark, the nickname for the old gym where he loved to watch basketball games as a student. Strangely, he senses the car is almost on autopilot, guiding him there. He's able to get inside where he discovers a basketball team of ghosts from the school who almost won the Championship against a much larger school forty years before. He realizes these are no ordinary ghosts. Their older selves are still alive in the present, and John has met all of them over the years. In effect, in this time warp, John knows more about the ghosts' lives than they do. John and the ghosts realize he must be there for a purpose, and he decides to find out why the ghosts are stuck in time, replaying the team they lost to over and over and over. While seeking to unravel this mystery at the Ark, John realizes redemption for the ghosts, as well as himself, depends on the actions he must help arrange with others who aren't privy to his "real" motives. Readers who enjoyed W.P. Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe," or its movie adaptation, "Field of Dreams" will appreciate Ark's different slant, served slightly chilled, sprinkled with humor and a twist at the end.

Being a Hoosier, I'm very familiar with the movie and one of the actors is a dentist here in town.  That being said, the premise of Ark intrigued me.  A gym, the Ark, filled with aging basketball ghosts.  I can't even begin to fathom going back to visit one of my old haunts and find it filled with ghosts!  Obviously, there is more here than what it looks like on the surface.

As the story unfolds, we are given a glimpse into the ghosts and John's past, but also the present.  Heldon does a good job of writing them both that the reader isn't overwhelmed and can easily follow along.  It's a sweet story of second chances, but it's also quirky, humorous, and thoroughly entertaining.  You don't have to be a sports or basketball fan to read Ark, but John definitely knows something about the sport, which is portrayed through the details of his writing.   A great debut from a talented writer! I'll definitely be looking forward to his next book.

You can check out John's blog here:

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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