LULLABY ROAD by James Anderson
A year or so ago I stumbled across a novel by James Anderson titled THE NEVER-OPEN DESERT DINER. For whatever reason I picked it up and started it. It captured my attention immediately as it described an area of the country with which I was basically unfamiliar. It also featured an unlikely hero. Combined with a skill of writing few authors possess it made for amazingly satisfying reading. I flew through the book and ended up stupefied at the talent I had seen unfold.
Now Anderson is back with a sequel to his story. This new book is titled LULLABY ROAD and it once again tells of the adventures belonging to Ben Jones, truck driver. This time the setting is the Utah desert in the winter. In the previous book it dealt with the desert in the summer. Ben Jones is still running his route down Highway 117 and once again meets a variety of characters who are his customers along the route.
But before Ben can even get started on his route he is told by the store owner where he fuels up that a friend left something for him at pump 8. What has been left there is a child and a dog. Ben doesn’t have time to hunt down the father so he takes the child and dog into his cab. BUT before he can make a run to his route he is coerced by the girl who lives in the other half of his apartment to watch her infant daughter for the day. Thinks get complex fast in this story.
The heart of the story is the heart of Ben Jones. He would be the first to tell you that he has had a turbulant past, but instead of damaging him it has smoothed out his rough edges. He has become a good man in all the most real senses of that word. He is a loyal friend and a vigilant observer of humanity. Sometimes he is too good for his own good and that gets him into a heap of trouble in this story.
The world of the desert and of Ben Jones’ life come alive through the skilled artistry of Anderson’s talent. His description of the scenery is mind-blowing, and his creation of characters is even better. You have never read someone who writes like Anderson. He has a unique way of expressing himself in his pages and he also is an artisan of the highest ranking in developing a plot that fascinates readers.
I urge you to hop into the cab of Ben’s truck and ride with him down Highway 117. You will see views you have never seen, and you will meet characters like you have never met. It is a world of strange beauty both of the physical and of the emotional kind. Anderson creates a world of his own and then offers you a chance to traverse it. I am certainly glad that I accepted the offer in both books. Now you should too.
LULLABY ROAD is published by Crown. It contains 320 pages and sells for $26.00.
Jackie K Cooper