Published by Skyhorse Publishing
Categories: Southern Fiction / Rural Fiction / Mystery
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The seemingly never-ending Cabinda War (1975—) has left multitudes dead in its wake and thousands of children homeless and orphaned. Jackaleena N’denga, a young Angolan girl, has become the sole survivor of one specifically brutal village massacre carried out by a band of guerrilla boy-soldiers.
Jackaleena’s resilience leads her to an orphanage on the west coast of Africa, known as Benguela by the Sea, where she and other children are taken in and protected. Her brilliant mind and endless questions capture the heart of her mentor, Margaret, who ensures her that her survival thus far—especially being the survivor from her village—must mean she has big things ahead of her. When the opportunity arises, she must find her purpose.
Not without a plan, Jackaleena stows away on a mercy ship that has made its yearly visit to the orphanage and is now preparing to return to America. Her journey takes her across the ocean, into the arms of New York City’s customs officials, and finally into placement in a temporary foster home in Texas.
Enter Alfie Carter—a workaholic, small-town detective who is also battling memories of his past. His life is forever changed when he meets a young African girl looking for her higher purpose.
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There are many aspects of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The two central characters, Jackaleena and Alfie top the list. Second to that is the great descriptions of the settings, and I enjoyed going into the mountains with Alfie on his annual self-exile where he could see the stars so clearly and hear the baying of the coyotes. While familiar with that night sound, I didn’t know that the baying sometimes was a way to have members of the pack check in with each other. That was an interesting bit of trivia I liked learning.
Alfie is a well developed character with many layers that are slowly lifted as the story progresses. While too circumspect with his wife Beatrice, who has the patience of Job when it comes to this taciturn man, he is introspective while out on the road tracking criminals or up in the mountains. He recognizes how his childhood impacted his life as an adult and wonders if God took their child because he, Alfie was unfit to be a father. Alfie also has a bit of a sense of humor and I loved this line “Men’s underwear is not supposed to be every color of the rainbow.”
The story opens with a court case and Jackaleena as a successful attorney in Texas, far from the African village that had been her home and the atrocities she suffered there. I kept waiting for the story to come full circle, thinking the author had used the “framing” technique of telling a story, but that didn’t happen. That opening did provide a good vehicle for launching the story, but it would have been better, I think, to bring it full circle.
What didn’t work so well for me was the unbalance in pacing. Scenes with Jackaleena in Africa started off well. That first scene of the destruction of her village was stark and emotional, without being too graphic, which was nice. Not a lot of gore for this reader. 🙂 But subsequent scenes were so slow and contained too much detail that I was skip-reading – something I hate to do as I believe I owe an author a thorough read when reviewing their book. Even though I skipped through, just reading a sentence here and there on a page, I didn’t miss any important developments in the story, which then picked up a better pace when the two characters lives intersected.
I received an unedited ARC to read, so I’m hoping that some of the issues with the story were resolved in the editing process. This is a good story with some important messages about what we owe each other as human beings and the benevolence of a loving God.
BJ Mayo was born in an oil field town in Texas. He spent the first few years of his life living in a company field camp twenty-five miles from the closest town. His career in the energy industry took him to various points in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Louisiana, Bangladesh, Australia, and Angola West Africa. He and his wife were high school sweethearts and have been married for forty-six years with two grown children. They live on a working farm near San Angelo, Texas.
Visit BJ Mayo at his WEBSITE *** Skyhorse publishing on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK AND WEBSITE
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THREE WINNERS each receive an autographed copy of ALFIE CARTER
US only. Ends midnight, CST, March 5, 2021.
CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, or visit the blogs directly:
|2/23/21||Review||Reading by Moonlight|
|2/23/21||BONUS Promo||All the Ups and Downs|
|2/23/21||BONUS Promo||LSBBT Blog|
|2/24/21||Review||The Clueless Gent|
|2/25/21||BONUS Promo||Hall Ways Blog|
|2/28/21||Review||Carpe Diem Chronicles|
|3/1/21||Review||That’s What She’s Reading|
|3/2/21||Review||The Adventures of a Travelers Wife|
|3/3/21||Review||Librariel Book Adventures|
|3/4/21||Review||It’s Not All Gravy|
|3/4/21||Review||The Plain-Spoken Pen|
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2 thoughts on “Book Blog Tour: Alfie Carter by BJ Mayo”
I am ALL about books that have that message about benevolence and how we treat our fellow humans. Thanks for a great review.
Happy to do the review. The book was filled with some great messages as other reviewers have pointed out.