The Memory Tree
John Little

Nocturne Press, Trade Paperback, 319 pgs, 2007
Reviewed by Steve Vernon

Have you ever wished you could step back in time and alter the past? Have you ever wanted to reach back to some part of your life where you turned left and convince your younger self to turn right? In John Little’s The Memory Tree this opportunity is fully explored in a most entertaining and enthralling fashion.

Sam Ellis is a successful middle-aged Seattle stock broker. On the surface his life looks perfect. Yet underneath the surface the roots of misfortune run deep. He has a troubled and dark childhood. One day he finds himself transported back in time to his early childhood. He’s a stranger in the town where he grew up in and he needs to set things right. While he’s doing so he finds out an awful lot about the nature of monsters and the camouflage that many of them can wear.

I picked this book up this morning and finished it this afternoon. It is a fast and compelling read. John Little is a masterful writer. I felt comfortable in this world he’d created and I hated to see the book end. He kept me guessing right through until the final pages. I thought I had it figured out a half a dozen times.

His writing style is smooth and simple with only a couple of speed bumps that appear when the main character tries to “send a message” to the future. I felt that Little rushed a couple of these sequences. Still, these are small points. The book is a damn fine first novel. I would recommend that everyone who reads this ought to rush right out and buy themselves a copy of The Memory Tree but unfortunately I cannot. The publisher, Nocturne Press, closed up shop recently. There just aren’t that many copies out there to be had.

Have I ever wished that I could step back in time and alter the past? You bet your Heinlien, mister. I wish I could step back and personally hand-deliver John Little’s original manuscript to an established publisher who would stick around long enough to get this book out to the audience it deserves.

Still, bookmark this man’s name in your memory. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from Mr. John Little.

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