In his debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner, author James Anderson presents readers with a suspenseful mystery, which takes place in a fantastic setting, and if filled with rich and interesting characters. The novel tells the story of Ben, a truck driver who runs a desolate route through the Utah desert. Alone and on the verge of bankruptcy, he encounters love, loss, accusation, violence, and even a chance at being on a reality tv show, all through interactions with his boss and his customers.
The story itself is very intriguing. The characters are well developed and the setting creates a mood that works very well to contain the story. My chief complaint with the book is that the main characters move in and out of relationships too fast and behave in unbelievable ways. I really had to suspend my disbelief to allow the characters to move through the story in the manner in which it is written. In addition, the dialogue was a little flat. There were times where the author had to tell me how a character was responding (angry, hurt, etc…) because the words on the page didn’t describe what the response was supposed to be. I believe that truly good writing doesn’t tell us, but rather shows us, what is happening.
Otherwise, I felt that this was a great first novel and would definitely consider reading additional releases in the future.