Friday, July 8, 2011

A Juniper Through the Cracks / Wayne Purdy

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Thriller

Approximate word count: 115-120,000 words

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YES UK: YES Nook: NO Smashwords: NO Paper: YES
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Canadian Wayne Purdy is a transit operator by day. A Juniper Through the Cracks is his first novel with his second, Furry, on schedule for a planned release this summer. For more, visit his Facebook page.


A middle-aged family man and small business owner, Ambrose Vidal could be the average man-on-the-street. Plucked from the street in an Islamic terrorist plot and slated for execution, Ambrose reflects on his life.


A Juniper Through the Cracks is like an Oreo cookie. It is a hard-edged, tasty thriller, sandwiching a middle that is vastly different. Each section, while okay by itself, comes together to make a whole that is much more tasty than any of the parts. I’m not going to say much about the thriller portion except that the beginning whets your appetite and the conclusion is both satisfactory and sensible when you get there.

The middle portion is the meat of the book. It is an excellent coming-of-age story with some unique characters. Many of these characters feel like a stereotype when you first meet them. The big-man-on-campus-sports-star, the junkie, and the psychic are characters we’ve seen before. You’ve probably seen the bullied kid, cantankerous grandfather, and older woman, too. With each of these characters, Purdy has taken the stereotype and added more depth to each. In the end, your feelings about each change as you understand them better.

Although there are several different story threads that run through the middle of the book, Ambrose and his mother learning to deal with death being the most serious, this portion feels more character driven than plot driven. Yet when you reach the end, you find that many of those threads were positioning the characters for the conclusion.

A Juniper Through the Cracks isn’t an obvious title. It comes from a scene in the book that you’ll recognize when you come to it. The juniper is a symbol for surviving in the face of adversity, the overriding theme of both portions of the book.


The author is Canadian and the story takes place in Canada. Obviously, spelling and slang are also Canadian.

Format/Typo Issues:

A small number of errors.

Rating: **** Four star

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