Sunday, July 19, 2015

Reprise Review: Keeping Private Idaho / Rick Just

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Satire

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: NO  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


“Rick Just is a native Idahoan who grew up on a ranch along the Blackfoot River. He is a former Marine, a whitewater kayaker, a sculptor, a sports car buff and the alpha male of his schnauzer pack... He was the editor of 100 Years, Idaho and its Parks, the centennial history of Idaho's state parks system. He is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild.”

Mr. Just also has a few young adult fantasies published, The Wizards Trilogy and Anjel. To learn more please visit his website and blog.


“Coyote never seems to learn. Yet, he never fails to teach, mostly through the error of his ways. He taught the Nez Perce that they came from the Heart of the Monster. Now, he is teaching modern day Idahoans, they have a monster in their heart. This is Private Idaho, a place that exists in the minds of accidental natives and territorial pranksters who take out their resentments on tourists and real estate speculators. They are anonymous and deadly. In this tale of the New West, where the cowboys are women and the Indians wear Rollerblades, be alert for exploding potatoes, the allure of mineshafts and the terrible finesse of chainsaws.”


This book takes a wry look at xenophobia from many different angles, it also applies to many other states or even countries. Idaho just happens to be the home state for Mr. Just and he is knowledgeable about many aspects that were explored in this book. The fact that the B-52's had a song titled Private Idaho is just icing on the cake. Yes, I had to Google it and then got caught up in all sorts of other 80s music. Really, I don't want to talk about it... don't judge me!

So what we have here is a serious character study laced with some humorous aspects and spotted with tragic consequences. Mr. Just does an outstanding job weaving this tale from many different points of view. However, I felt like Coyote was used as a scapegoat to avoid pointing fingers at any one person, group, or business. While I felt a little cheated about the personification of Coyote, I am pretty sure he was happy to fill that role so perfectly suited for his character.

This story reflects on several characters from different walks of life which were handled skillfully and realistically. Several concerns are addressed from multiple angles and I found it easy to be drawn into each person’s story. Here is where I wish there had been more personal interaction with Coyote, instead he mainly orchestrated the events that affected these characters lives. I was appalled at the lengths some people would go to in order to protect their own self interests, it's not easy for me to have my rose-colored glasses ripped off my face. I found this book interesting, entertaining, and a worthwhile read that has a valuable moral to be heeded.  

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: ***** Five stars

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