Sunday, January 30, 2011

First Reviews...

This just came in from The Galveston Dailey News

Fictional hurricane story true to history

Published January 23, 2011
“Tormenta,” by S. Bond Herndon, Imagine House, Truesource Publishing, Dallas, 242 pages, $14.99.


The content in this book is fiction. Only the names of hurricanes and their striking the Upper Gulf Coast have not been changed, verifying the effects they have on thousands of lives each time one strikes land.

Able Dawes and his girlfriend, Lola, were among the islanders failing to heed the mandatory evacuation of Galveston Island in the summer of 2005.

Earlier that same summer, New Orleans had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina as levies failed, sending evacuees in every direction other than south seeking safety and shelter.

Those who came to Galveston were forced to evacuate once again as a tropical depression developed into another strong hurricane moving toward Galveston.

Despite the horrendous results of those who remained in the neighboring state of Louisiana during the earlier storm, many made a similar decision as Hurricane Rita, a Category 5 storm, moved closer toward the narrow barrier island off the Texas coast, Galveston.

In 1900, the island incurred the country’s worst natural disaster in history leaving an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 people dead in its wake.

Able wasn’t thinking about anything other than getting another fix of heroin for his girlfriend as he wandered the Seawall Boulevard toward 45th Street.

That’s when things went array; the island he knew like the back of his hand suddenly changed before him. Hearing the waves crashing against the concrete barrier, the seawall that had been built when much of the island was raised in the years following the 1900 storm, he now saw carriages from the time of that storm, people dressed in attire of that time and heard conversations from those he couldn’t see.

He drifted toward an African-American playing a harmonica standing against a gas lit street lantern that had long since been replaced with electric lights.

In the remaining course of the book, Able would hear from others whom he had no idea he was related to, stories of voodoo, curses, hair raising screams and bone chilling tales only he, Able Dawes, could resolve, or so he had been told. To his way of thinking, he had just had a bad fix.

Then he heard the story and saw the red eyes, the only color other than gray in the entire book. They were hideous, evil, red eyes.

Only then did Able realize what he was hearing, seeing and feeling were indeed real. He also realized what had been told to him by a man whom he did not know, was in fact his father.

Decades earlier, a distant relative had been cursed and those on the island with him by an evil witch.

His father told Able, who’d never done anything worthy in his entire life, he would need to find the key that would save himself and the island from a curse that had lasted more than a 100 years. Or he would watch as the island and his family, meaning those who had lived on the island, be doomed.

In less than a couple of hours chronologically, Able learned lifetimes of history and knowledge. Had the facts been accompanied by wisdom, compassion, the ability to forgive and the risk that comes with learning to love, forgive and act responsibly?

When the time came to confront evil, would he have the strength to do what needed to be done after living a life of avoidance, with nothing to show that he, had ever lived?

The author, S. Bond Herndon, is faithful in portraying characters of different time frames, in dialogue and respect.

Readers who are expletive sensitive, be warned; Able is a young man of the streets and uses its language.

The book’s title has to do with Bale’s inner turmoil and struggle amid the churning Gulf waters.

Remember one fact: Hurricane Rita does not hit the island, but reduces wind velocity and veers east unexpectedly.

Why? Is it an upper atmospheric wind sheer or is there another reason scientists can’t explain?

Is it the decision Able Dawes makes that breaks the curse and saves the island?

Read the book, and then decide.

S. Bond Herndon has lived near the Upper Gulf Coast for more than 20 years.

“Tormenta” is his second book. His first, a collaborative effort is a suspense novel, “Into the Blue,” was released in 2004.

Margaret Barno, a retired social worker, lives in Pflugerville.


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