Title: The Never-Open Desert Diner
Publication Date: 22 March, 2016
In the Utah desert, there is a highway that ends in a magical bit of nowhere surrounded by mesa and unforgiving wastes. It is here, from one isolated end of Route 117 to the other, that Ben Jones delivers strange freight to the parade of mysterious people who have chosen for reasons known and unknown to disappear there.
On one particular trip, as his life is falling apart, Ben delivers a cargo to the Well Known Diner that plunges him into danger, intrigue, a daydream of love, and the vengeful madness of more than one family.
This book wants to be more magical than it was allowed to be. Reading it is like being taken to the Grand Canyon and only allowed to see it from 100 yards away. Worth it, but you know there could be more. The characters are lovely. The setting is well executed. The mood is right on. It is enchanted.
Somewhere along the line, the magical purpose of it all gets a little lost in weak erratic pacing and a slow to develop plot. Anderson would have been better off to stay true to the nature of the story he must have known it had initially. Many of the perfect buildups went nowhere.
All that aside, it is a book I will recommend. The ending is solid, the plot finally gels (if a bit convenient), and it was a book I had no trouble reading all the way to the end with happy anticipation. Still, I mourn for all that potential wasted. Live and learn, Anderson. Next time, trust yourself and bring all your incredible talent to bear. I’ll be waiting.
I received a review copy from the publisher through BloggingforBooks in exchange for an honest review.