Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Coming of Age/Historical Fiction
Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words
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A native of Little Rock, Arkansas (the setting for this book), Jim Lester has a PhD in history and has written several books on history as well as a novel, Fallout, which was traditionally published several years ago. Lester has also combined his love of sports and history in an indie-published non-fiction offering about college basketball in the 1950s. Married to his high school sweetheart, Lester now lives in Denver.
For more, visit the author’s website.
“Twelve-year old Archie Lane’s next door neighbor is a killer. Archie has uncovered that terrible secret, but no one will believe him. If he doesn’t find a way to convince his parents he witnessed a real murder, the results could be fatal for Archie. Set in the fall of 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas, a city torn apart by one of the nation’s first civil rights crises, Archie’s suspense-filled story recounts his transition from an idyllic world to the incomprehensible world of adults. Throughout his story, the reader watches Archie struggle to come to terms with the subtleties of right and wrong.”
The Great Pretender is a fun and entertaining coming-of-age story. While the setting of the late 50s is too early to invoke nostalgia in me, this combined with taking place in Little Rock, Arkansas added another element I enjoyed, integrating the attitudes and norms of this place and time on race relations into the story. This also figured prominently in the growth the protagonist Archie goes through. Plus, in case the title isn’t a dead giveaway with the obvious reference to The Platters hit of the era, music plays its part in the story, too. That’s always a positive, at least for me.
No significant issues
Rating: **** Four Stars