By Pygmy Amazon Reviews on February 24, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Wow! I found this debut novel exceptionally well written. The story takes place in the wake of 9/11 and a Wallstreet socialite loses his interest in the high life, sinking into the despair of depression after his experience on that tragic day. The plot was well done leading me down rabbit trails of speculation about what was happening. Parents and children using an underground network to run away from abusive spouses are mysteriously disappearing from their cars or homes. One man intent upon protecting a mother and child he's grown to love finds himself in numerous bad situations. He doesn't know who to trust and finds he can't trust anyone. Action packed, suspenseful, and a satisfying conclusion that I didn't really expect until near the very end. Well done. Appropriate for older teens and adults of all ages. I give this one five stars.
By Over The Rainbow on February 21, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
This story actually starts out as two, seemingly unrelated, stories, but as it progresses, the two tales are woven together so skillfully you almost forget that they were once separate. First, there are hints about some abductions of women and children that are taking place, but you can't quite figure out what's going on. But there's enough given that you're immediately hooked from the first page. Then there's the story of Mike Dobbs, a man who is wrestling with PTSD and the big question of what he wants out of life. And all of this is set against the dramatic backdrop of the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Overall, I have to say I love this book!! Mr. Newton tackles hard issues like child sex abuse, dealing with and healing from trauma, and the consequences of apathy and ignorance. He does an excellent job of highlighting the inadequacies of the justice system when it comes to protecting children from abusive parents. And the suspense he builds without even seeming to try will keep you on the edge of your seat! But even though I would classify this book as a suspenseful thriller, I would also say the writing qualifies as literary in nature. Mr. Newton really explores the human condition and what it feels like when people form unexpected bonds with others. All-in-all, five stars, and I truly hope Mr. Newton writes more stories for others to enjoy! :-)
5.0 out of 5 stars
By B. Martin on February 13, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
First things first: I really enjoyed this book. The characters come across as real people. Watching Mike Dobbs struggle to reclaim his own life after experiencing first-hand the horrors of 9-11 made me want to reach inside and give the guy a hug. There were also times I wanted to shake some sense into him. Yet Mike soldiered on, a flawed yet genuinely good person who will stop at nothing to help the people he loves.
And that's where The Railroad really shines. The mystery behind the whereabouts of Eileen and Megan is masterfully told. The author had me guessing the entire time, and when the moment of truth came, and everything was revealed, I was blown away. It's a great ending. I don't want to say too much for fear of giving anything away, but it shows what a talented storyteller Mr. Newton is. The clues were there, and just when I thought I had it, the truth was something else entirely. Again, I have to congratulate the author on his wizardry. He got me.
This book is everything a reader could want in a mystery novel, and I recommend it. Highly.
By The Minter on January 25, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are my age, then you probably remember exactly what you were doing when the Twin Towers came down. I was at my part-time job at my college campus. Fortunately, I was not, like the protagonist of Neil Newton's fast-paced thriller The Railroad, anywhere near a New York metro. As claustrophobic as I am, I would had a massive panic attack. And like the out-of-service metro, Newton's novel entrapped me to where I was unable to escape until I reached the end of the line.
Mike Dobbs is a top Wall Street executive whose world is turned upside when he is trapped in a metro car with other panicking passengers for thirty minutes. Afterwards, suffering from PTSD from being trapped and from the terrorist attacks in general, Mike decides to leave New York City and stay in his country home in upstate. He thinks the quiet and solitude would ease his mind, but it isn't long before he is contacted by Elena, a former flame who runs The Railroad, an organization that helps battered women and children escape to safety. He grudgingly agrees to host Eileen and her daughter Megan for a few days, and after an initial rocky start, the mother and daughter began to grow on him. With Eileen's sadistic husband Bob on their trials, the pair leave. Mike is upset, but his concerns quickly take a turn when Bob begins a campaign of psychological torment against Mike, and worse, the authorities are reluctant to get involved. For his own safety and for that of Eileen and Megan, Mike is forced to take matters into his own hands. Along the way, becoming increasingly stressed and paranoid, Mike's sanity slowly begins to crumble.
Although this book is in need of a round of editing and a reformatting, the plot pacing and character development easily outweigh these issues. This is a suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of you seat, and the reader will gladly go along with Mike on his journey through all seven circles to find his foster family. The tale of the doomed pair, told against the backdrop of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is satisfying on many levels. The ending is a bit unusual and can be confusing if you don't read carefully. Overall, I recommend this book a hundred times over.
By Anita Kovacevic on January 10, 2016
This book was recommended to me by a friend who knows I like to read serious books. And this is not a fun, beach, snack book. This is a serious meal you need to sink your teeth into and think. The author has decided to tackle plenty of important, real life situations, and it's far easier to dig our heads into reality shows than deal with reality.
As you follow the developments in the life of Mike Dobbs, his transformations and turbulence, cleverly told in first person, you will question his decisions, go with him through his 9-11 experience (excellent scene in the subway and consequences mentioned subsequently), a bitter, cold, dying relationship, utter depression and then - the unexpected change. When Mike drinks, when he is insensitive to the Dennis or Barbara, when he thinks of how to get rid of Eileen and Megan, he is what he is, a traumatised average man hardened by the alienation of modern life, yet doomed to reluctant kindness, generosity and heroism when face to face with a person in real trouble. It's the damaged souls guiding damaged souls, like the blind leading the blind, but still sticking together. There is good in us humans, despite the bad in us. Mike is the kind of hero I like - almost an antihero, an accidental hero who never sees himself as such because he himself is so rundown and empty that even the author makes no excuses for him. All the characters are realistic and intriguing, even the five-second appearances (the girl in the cybercafe, the innkeeper couple in a small town), and their psychology is really well-expressed, shown, not preached. I will not divulge my favourites to avoid spoilers.
The cover itself is not a compromising one - there is no couple to inspire romantic notions, although a huge portion of the story deals with relationships - romantic, family and friendships. There is no blood gushing, although the story is far from a gentle one. The title is not only an important literal image in the story, but also a metaphor, and the railroad puns and analogies woven into the plot have been placed there naturally, almost unnoticeably, yet emphasizing the message, using both the positive and negative connotations of it (travelling, discovering your paths, traditional settings, as opposed to being derailed, railroaded, cheated and defeated, whether by cunning or violence, etc.)
The initial chapters are not your average writing style and popular writers' vernacular, which grabbed my attention with plenty of interesting lines and expressions, which obviously come naturally and follow the events without distracting the reader. This style blends into more action in the second part of the book, as the story itself twists and turn that way. I enjoyed the excellent, flowing dialogues, quite an original line of thinking, and blending dialogue and character's thoughts seamlessly yet clearly defined. The language flows with impact, sometimes even like an old black-and-white detective movie or even a movie done in comic-book style.
The Railroad is a book not easily-digested, because of the topic - heavy, gruesome subjects people want to avoid but need to talk about and read about. You will want to drop it at times, because it might hit too close to home, but as soon as you put it down, you will want to get back to it. You will want to see how it turns out. Alienation, terrorism, child abuse, disfunctional marriages, detached relationships, dying friendships, inadequacy in the simplest intimate situations, post-traumatic stress, loneliness, disregard for common decency, system failures, bribe and the cowardice of laws, alcoholism, conformity... There are no comic reliefs, the readers will not be pampered with easily-digestible scenes or easy, rose-coloured romance, and Mike's battle is constant and relentless. At times there is even an unusual, erratic pace of telling events, showing the mess in Mike's mind and soul, all strongly tied into the plot as the web thickens towards the end. After the entire ordeal, you will wonder whether Mike continued the search out of bravery, stubborness, pure love, madness or the simple need for closure. But hang in there - like life, it is all worth it. There is nothing average about Mike - the average person stays away or gives in. Mike doesn't.
The ending might surprise you, and goes to prove that the most unlikely heroes, the ones who don't go looking for it, are the ones who do chage the world, one act at a time. There is a slight feeling of bitterness and injustice, knowing Mike's sacrifice. But then again, the loveliest roses need thorns.