Roberto to the Dark Tower Came by Tom Epperson

Overall this is a good read, and I think those interested in political adult fiction will enjoy this one.

About the Book

Publisher: Meerkat Press  |  Release Date: May, 2018  |  Pages: 350
Genre: Adult, Literary Fiction, Thriller  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Roberto is a young left-wing South American journalist who receives an ominous phone call: leave the country in ten days, or die. He has every intention of leaving, as soon as he follows a lead on a major story developing in the jungle. The book follows him on his perilous journey into the heart of darkness in pursuit of his story. Unknowingly, Roberto is headed toward a confrontation with an evil darker than he could possibly have imagined.

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My Review

The book opens up with Roberto waking up in the middle of the night to receive a death threat on the phone, and the narrative counts down each day before the unknown man’s deadline. Roberto to the Dark Tower Came is overall a powerful novel about a young journalist in an unnamed South American country fighting for the truth in a region that journalists – and other subversives – are routinely murdered for doing their jobs.

“The fact that someone wants to kill you for doing your job should make you realize how important that job is.”

I am going to admit that I am a bit conflicted about this book. It started incredibly strong and hooked me from the opening lines, but the subsequent few days (nine, eight, and seven) dragged for me and I struggled to continue… but my desire to see what happened kept me going (and I am so glad I stuck with it!). I understand that it was important to Roberto’s life to wrap things up and to reminisce about the past, but I found the pacing to be a little slower than I would have liked. Despite the considerable amount of time in the first 40% of the book dedicated to the people in his life, barring Roberto, Daniel, and Lina the characters fell flat for me; however, the connection that I felt for those three characters was deep.

“In ten days, Roberto. You must leave the country. Or else you will die.”

Despite the slow beginning, things really picked up around 40% in (six days before the deadline). For me this book was more about Roberto’s adventure to uncover and expose the truth, it is less of a mystery/thriller. If I were to give this book a rating at 30% it would have been maybe 2.5 stars, but it is easily a 4 star ending for me. I think that many people will appreciate the buildup and character building, but for me I wanted the action to come faster!

There are interesting parallels with terrorism and the fear of terrorism being used as a means of gaining control or excusing governmental acts of force that most certainly apply in the modern climate, and the media is used to spread this message to tamper outrage. I think that is why I felt a disconnect: it felt too real but not actually discussing real events. I don’t generally hold fiction up to a “reality” standard, but this almost read like nonfiction to me. It is likely that Epperson didn’t name the country on purpose so that it isn’t rooted so much in modern historical events, but I found it a bit distracting personally to have the narrator refer to “my country” and “my city” constantly. Regions mentioned were in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru – all countries which I have traveled to, which is probably why I was trying to pick it apart! My best guess is that Roberto is based in Colombia, and the strife depicted is a fictionalization of the FARC conflict.

Overall this is a good read, and I think those interested in political adult fiction will enjoy this one.

Content Warnings: animal abuse, rape, murder, war

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Meerkat Press, for providing me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Quotations were taken from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication. 

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

5 Comments

  1. thebibliophagist90

    May 24, 2018 at 6:45 PM

    Sounds like a good book, not sure it is for me though. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      May 25, 2018 at 9:02 PM

      It definitely isn’t for everyone, but is a great book indeed! Thanks so much for stopping by! xx

  2. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

    May 27, 2018 at 7:06 PM

    Fantastic review! I feel like the pacing alone would present a challenge for me, but that there would be enough value to push me through 🤣

    1. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

      May 28, 2018 at 2:06 AM

      That was meant to be a smile not a laughing emoji.. sorry.

    2. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      May 29, 2018 at 4:06 AM

      Thank you, and I definitely agree with your assessment on the pacing. I was just so intrigued that I had to see how it ended!

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