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Asbury Park
Rob Scott
Gollancz, 504 pages

Asbury Park
Rob Scott
Rob Scott was born in New York. He has studied classical guitar, and completed a Masters degree in education. Following a 1994 concert series in Brazil, he moved to Colorado to teach and to complete a doctorate in educational leadership and policy study. He lives in Virginia with his wife and two children.

Rob Scott Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site: 15 Miles

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Katherine Petersen

Asbury Park, Rob Scott's sequel to 15 Miles, takes a good thing and makes it better. A mixture of horror, fantasy and thriller, it proves that the total is usually better than the sum of its parts. After working a double murder in a remote Virginian farmhouse, Sailor Doyle was called a hero and lauded for his bravery. So when he goes to a beach house on the New Jersey shore where he grew up to recuperate from his leg and shoulder injuries and try to repair his broken marriage, he wants to keep a low profile. While glad he survived, his wife, Jenny, won't make reconciliation easy after he cheated on her. Sailor has a lot working against him as he fights prescription drug withdrawals and nightmares from his last case. One of those early morning withdrawals sends him out for a walk on the boardwalk, and exhausted, he seeks refuge in an expensive beachfront hotel where he meets Mark "Moses" Stillman, an elderly former minor league pitcher. Stillman tells him his wife and daughter drowned off the Jersey coast years earlier. But their breakfast is interrupted by a body falling from the sixth floor on to their table. It turns out to be Sailor's former history teacher. And there's much more to this story than Sailor sees at first.

Violent events continue to occur when Sailor tries to stop a kid from entering a school with a gun. He grapples with the kid, but a drug dealer turns up and shoots the kid. Later, the cops find out the gun wasn't even loaded as the kid intended to commit suicide. These events in combination with Sailor's auditory hallucinations of hearing a merry-go-round song and Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," from everywhere, start him investigating those events as well as the deaths of Moses's wife and daughter.

Rob Scott not only has a gift with words but an ability to create twisted, intricate plots that one doesn't see through until the author intends. Most of his characters, too, are fully developed, especially Sailor, who has so much going on and not much of it good, but remains the anti-hero nevertheless. Scott makes you root for him all the time you want to strangle him for doing dumb things. Scott's true strength is with his imagery that brings to life whatever place or situation he is describing.

Scott has the ability to combine seemingly disparate plots into a whole all the while slowly ratcheting up the intensity of the story as the novel progresses. Asbury Park is definitely a sequel to 15 Miles and should be read after although it will stand on its own. Scott gives enough background of the events in 15 Miles for one to understand, but the reader won't understand the extent of Sailor's character and background without reading 15 Miles first. If you enjoy thrillers with a elements of fantasy and horror thrown in, give this one a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Copyright © 2014 Katherine Petersen

Katherine Petersen started reading as a young child and hasn't stopped. She still thinks she can read all the books she wants, but might, at some point, realize the impossibility of this mission. While she enjoys other genres, she thrives on fantasy, science fiction and mysteries.

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