First published back in December of 2013, US author Ken Goldman’s novel ‘Of A Feather’ was the first publication to be released by the UK based publisher’s ‘Horrific Tales Publishing’.

DLS Synopsis:
For seventeen-year-old Socrates Singer life was a bit of a challenge.  Singer wasn’t particularly popular in school.  He also wasn’t exactly of an athletic build.  In fact, many would call Singer scrawny, which made him the perfect victim for Frances Bottinelli Junior and his friends – Eddie Grinder and Danny Duffman.  Which is why Socrates hated having to cross Gustav’s Park.  He knew that was where Bottinelli and his thuggish entourage hung out.  But today, because his thirteen-year-old sister – Doris – had missed the school bus, he knew he’d have to cut through the park to get her to school.

Singer was right to be apprehensive.  Little Frankie and his pals were there.  And the minute they saw Singer and his sister, they were on to him.  But that morning the bullying was cut short.  Bottinelli was about to give Socrates a damn good kicking when it started raining bird shit.  However the bombing seemed to be directed just on Bottinelli.  Neither of the other two bullies were targeted.  It made no sense.

However to Gertrude Breedlove it made perfect sense.  She knew what birds were capable of.  She understood them.  She had a connection with them.  And she had more than just a passing role to play in the incident in Gustav’s Park.

But of course, Little Frankie Bottinelli was far from happy about what had happened.  Although he didn’t understand it, he knew Socrates Singer had somehow orchestrated the whole thing.  Maybe even got the pigeon lady to help him.  Frankie would get his revenge though.  He’d get all of them.

Meanwhile, Socrates had other things on his mind.  He’d always felt a connection with birds.  And after visiting Wiggins’ Bird Emporium he’d found the perfect bird for him.  A yellow-nape macaw.  It was a beautiful parrot named KiKi which he’d felt an instant connection with.  He’d do whatever he could to have that bird.  To have KiKi in his life.

What Socrates Singer didn’t know was the magnitude of the connection he had with Kiki and all other birds.  His life was somehow in tune with them.  An ancient Indian spirit known as the Thunderbird had been provoked into a response.  Through Socrates the Wakinyan would reap its vengeance upon those that had caused the spirits such disrespect.

The once quiet town of Wellington was about to witness the wrath of an ancient power that had been unleashed by the unknowing acts of a few…

DLS Review:
Birds, ancient Indian spirits, young teenage love and more frigging birds.  That’s what’s in store for you within Ken Goldman’s ‘Of A Feather’.  Indeed, the novel’s a dark fantasy that’s completely besotted by our feathery friends.

It’s a character rich tale that draws you into its imaginative embrace with almost an effortless ease.  In fact, Goldman’s writing style and pacing is akin to that of a Stephen King offering – only without the penchant for wondering into verbose padding and constant side-tracking.

Our principal protagonist is the easily likable seventeen-year-old Socrates Singer, who through the length of the story displays an engaging and captivating character arc.  Goldman threads the rest of the tale’s plot through Singer and those that find themselves caught up in the whirlwind of spiritual chaos that is bubbling up from him.

Of course every good story needs an antagonist or two – and this novel’s no exception.  Here we have Frances Bottinelli Junior, and later on, his no-good uncle Ned Gurkaynak.  Together these two instantly dislikeable characters make up a formidable force against Socrates Singer and indeed pretty much anyone else who find themselves getting in their way.

From a few mindless acts of bullying, the bitterness and feeling of mounting discontent felt on both sides begins to escalate until it’s grown out of all control.  After a while, neither side has a true hold on the reigns of what’s going on – despite both thinking they do.

Think Hithcock’s ‘The Birds’ (1963) crossed with Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ (1974) that’s been dunked in a bubbling vat of dark fantasy.  There’s a good sprinkling of supernatural horror across the breadth of the tale – but the main driving force is undoubtedly with the character-driven threads.  Singer has a (somewhat brief) romance with a local hottie named Jamie which alters the whole equation.  Throw in the surprise change in side when Eddie Grinder (what a cracking surname) decides that a future by Bottinelli’s side might not be such a great career move, along with a bad influence of an uncle making an already rotten fruit even more disagreeable, and you’ve got plenty to keep the reader’s interest up.

However, it’s the surprising direction in which Goldman takes the tale and his characters that really makes the novel work so well.  Goldman never takes the story fully down the path you think it’s going to go.  Time and again he’ll lull you into thinking you’ve got the story sussed, only to knock you for six with an unlikely twist down a more devastating path.

‘Of A Feather’ is a deeply entertaining and compelling read.  There are plenty of character born twists and turns keeping the tale rich with interest and unpredictability.  The character of Socrates Singer throws in a classic coming-of-age backstory that successfully keeps the reader emotionally invested.  And then, almost from out of the blue, Goldman brings his tale to a close with an ending that you’ll either love or absolutely hate.  Yeah – it’s one of those that will no doubt divide the audience.  For me it works, but I can completely see why others wouldn’t feel the same.  But then that seems to be Goldman all over.  If you could predict where he was going to take his tales, then they’d lose so much of their appeal.

The novel runs for a total of 397 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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