Today’s my day to host John Howell and rave about his new paranormal thriller, The Last Drive. John is one of my colleagues at Story Empire where he shares his knowledge about the craft of writing. If you’ve visited his active blog, you already know he writes flash fiction, shares the goings-on in his neighborhood, as well as good news from around the world. He’s also the dad of two adorable pups: Lucy and Twiggy.
I’ve read and reviewed ALL of John’s fiction including this one, which I snagged as soon as it came out. My review is below, but before we go there: Here’s John:
I am so pleased to be with you today, Diana. Thank you for helping spread the word about The Last Drive. You are such an accomplished author, and I have to tell you The Necromancer’s Daughter was one of the best books I have read. I’m not usually a fantasy reader but the blurb for your book had me hooked. You also read and review an impressive number of books which causes me to wonder when you have time to write. By the way, your review of The Last drive put a smile on my face and a spring in my step, and I appreciate your lovely words. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of yours, but I guess I should be talking about the book now.!
Here is the blurb and then we can get to a short excerpt from the book.
In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.
The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey take the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.
This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.
“Ah, shit. Now you’ve gone and ruined my fun.”
Sam takes a couple of steps toward Buddy. “Who are you?”
“A servant of the devil.”
Sam glowers. “What are you doing here?”
Buddy raises his hand in an affable manner. “Well, I heard you two were out hunting for a couple of lost souls, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to see if I could cause some mayhem.”
“We certainly don’t need that, and I don’t believe you for one minute. Show yourself.”
Buddy frowns. “Don’t say that.”
Sam shrugs. “Why not?”
“Because when you say that, I have to show myself, and I don’t want to.”
The form of Buddy Holly fades, and a curtain of vapor rises to obscure the illusion. The fog dissipates and reveals a hunched troll. James waves the rest of the steam away and bends his knees to look the apparition in the eyes.
The creature demands, “What are you looking at?”
James laughs. “I see a little silhouette of a man.”
“Sing me a song, why don’t you.”
James spreads his arms and turns his palms up. “Okay,
I give. Who are you?”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Nope. No kidding.”
Sam touches James’s shoulder. “I believe this is a messenger of the devil.”
The figure brightens. “Hey, sweetheart, you got a brain in that beautiful head of yours.”
James turns to Sam. “Is this a joke?”
Sam nods. “In a way. This is a human-like form. You know-who likes to pull little tricks. Remember when I said there was a spirit about? It’s this little squirt.”
The figure stamps his foot. “Who you calling a squirt, bitch?”
“My, my, he has the tongue of the devil.”
James grabs the troll by the shirt. The creature touches James, and a strong shock knocks him to the floor.
James scrambles to his feet. “Try that again, squirt.”
“Be happy to. Just come a little closer.”
Sam puts herself between the two. “Okay, let’s knock it off. What is it you want here?”
“I only have one thing to do, and then I’m free. Would you like to go out later?”
Sam shakes her head. “What do you have to do?”
“Deliver a message from His Lordship.”
“His Lordship would like you to join him for dinner tonight.”
James pulls at Sam’s arm. “Here we go again.”
Sam shrugs James’s hand away. “What James is trying to say is we’ve been through this song and dance before. Go tell your boss we’re not interested in anything he has to say.”
Universal Buy Links
The Last Drive is available in paper and Kindle editions on Amazon.
The Kindle edition is on sale for 99¢ through mid-February.
This book follows the adventures of Sam and James of The Eternal Road, but it stands alone perfectly well with the same level of imagination and detail. Spirits James and Sam return to the Eternal Road to search for Ryan, a recently deceased pilot, and his guide Eddie. The two men have gone off track while looking for Ryan’s eternal home. Lucifer has his fingerprints all over this book as he’s determined to have Ryan “join his team.”
Similar to the first book, the search takes Sam and James, and eventually Ryan and Eddie, to quite a few major events in time including the first Super Bowl, the California gold rush, 9/11, the sinking of the Titanic, and the horrors of Auschwitz. Some places they travel to on their own, but in most cases, Lucifer sends them there, wanting them to trade Ryan’s soul for a reprieve.
In some ways, Sam and James are on a quest, tasked with challenges they need to puzzle out as they operate in the past without changing the future. The directive not to fiddle with the future generates some heartbreaking scenes and tough moral decisions. Howell’s research into the tragedies of the past is notable, and there are some brutal scenes including sexual abuse.
Any heaviness in the book is initially countered by Lucifer. He’s sarcastic, snarky, and completely without verbal restraint, at the very least. His banter, particularly with Sam, was entertaining, though it became easier and easier to completely dislike him toward the end. The plot doesn’t follow a straight line, nor is it always logical, but it’s highly imaginative and recommended for fans of fantastical stories about the afterlife.
John is an award-winning author who after an extensive business career began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written Six other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/john-w-howell
Eternal Road Buy links
Kindle Universal link mybook.to/EternalRoad
Paper universal link mybook.to/Eternalroadpaper