- Title: Voices of the Passed
- Author: R.L. Seago
- Series: None
- Genre: Mystery
- Publishing Date: April 4th, 2016
- Publishing Co.: Indie
- Length: 334 pages
- Format: Kindle
- Acquired: Given free PDF copy in exchange for review
- Amazon Link: Voices of the Passed
Caleb Armstrong keeps hearing voices and they are driving him to distraction more than the war ever did. The one he hears most frequently is his best friend Rick’s- problem is, Rick died seven years earlier in a roadside attack in Afghanistan.
Caleb is a three tour veteran of the Iraq/Afghanistan war, and has seen the worst atrocities that can be committed. Now working as en ER nurse in San Diego, he is trying to find some level of peace in his life.
Caleb and his best friend Solomon live an easy bachelors existence in their San Diego home, but someone from Caleb’s past is watching, and their patience is wearing thin.
When he meets the beautiful and charming Charity Sandcastle, it won’t take long to realize how special her gifts and abilities are, and just how vital they will become to their very survival..
When Caleb is forced to confront the demons from his past, he will have to go to extreme lengths to protect those he loves most, and will finally gain some true understanding of who he really is, as well as why he keeps hearing these three little words-The girl knows.
First Chapter Challenge: 8%
In the short prologue, we are given a chance to meet Caleb, a seemingly great guy who works at a hospital. He ends up passing this strikingly beautiful red-headed woman as he holds the door open for her while leaving his usual bakery. What intrigues me is that the red-head asks the owner of the bakery after he leaves, and she knows his name… Something is definitely going to happen between these two! Only question is, will it be good or bad? It also seems as if the red-head, Charity, is conversing with her dead mother… More so than in the one-way prayer kind of communication known to religious folk.
During the first chapter, we see more into Caleb’s character and also find out how he met his best friend, a bull terrier named Solomon. If the dog has anything to say about Caleb’s character, he is definitely a genuinely nice guy, if perhaps a little broken from his 3 tours in the military. We also come across the first mystery in the novel, a book left conspicuously out-of-place with a passage underlined and a slip of paper with three words written on it… Who placed the paper there and why? I can’t wait to find out!
Final Judgment: 3.5 Stars out of 5
Trigger Warning: Sexual and graphic violence, I recommend for readers 18+
In this mysterious and military-touched novel, our protagonist Caleb–a war veteran who lost his best friend in his last tour–struggles with a dark secret that may just destroy the only people he loves. He must protect them at all costs, away from the reaches of the Dark Colonel. Will he succeed? Perhaps the voices of the loving dead will aid him in this journey.
“Therefore, shall I always look to the future to avoid the pain of the past, I say we must also protect and save the girl, for the girl knows the truth-“ (page 14).
R. L. Seago does a great job of hooking his readers within the first few pages of his novel and then allows us to sit contentedly as we passively watch Caleb going about his normal life and building his relationship with Charity. There were a few somewhat exciting events that took place–and they really seemed to be inconsequential in the long run, present more for further building Caleb’s character than anything else–but the rest of the novel seemed to be a very slow build, up until about the last 15-20% of the book. I’ll admit that I got a little sleepy as I was reading through it, waiting for something, anything to happen. However, the ending did satiate my need for mystery and most definitely tricked me with its crazy twist at the very end. Did not see that coming! I don’t want to spoil it, but it made me look at the rest of the book in an entirely new light.
If any of you have read one of his other books, There Are None So Blind (link to my review of it here), it is eerily similar to this one. Both deal with the pain of a veteran coming back from war, flashbacks to that war, the healing and love that dogs can bring us, multiple point of views–including the dogs’, the independence of a blind woman, and a Love at First Sight trope. I actually rated this book the same as his other one I read, for similar and differing reasons alike.
He had never felt it was coincidence that he and Solomon met, and if God had a divine plan for he and Charity to be as one, then, for once, he decided to really take a chance (page 182).
For the similar reasons, I just can’t get into the whole “falling in love after seeing someone once” idea… Caleb and Charity both seem like great people, and probably would have fallen in love, but I want to see a build up of their characters, not just “their eyes meet and they know they were meant to be.” It all just happens way too fast, similar to the relationship between two of the MCs in There Are None So Blind. I also wished he had created more dynamic characters, rather than a wholly-good protagonist and the traditionally evil antagonist. Humans are not like that; we all have a little good and a little evil in us, despite our best (or worst) intentions. It made it difficult to relate to the characters, especially as it seemed that all of the main-ish characters–not just Caleb–were so tremendously good, without a shadow of darkness within them.
For the differing reasons, I really just wanted more action, more suspense. It was too slow for me for most of the book, and even the little actionable events that were sprinkled in just did not seem to evoke much of an emotional response out of me. Additionally, I had so many questions that went unanswered, and made it difficult for me to figure out the logic behind the plot. I do not want to spoil, so I will leave my questions in the comments below, and you can read them if you so want! I would also appreciate anyone who has read this (or will read this) to look at my questions and have a discussion with me! I love trying to figure out answers to a book 🙂
It was good to know there were still people in this world worth trusting and caring about (page 133).
Overall, the novel was very well-written and unique in its concept. The voices of the dead seemed to be of little consequence to the story and–in my mind–could have been completely eradicated. I just don’t think they added anything, and in fact made a believable story unrealistic, thus distancing me from the novel. However, this was definitely a great read for anyone looking for something quick and interesting! The characters were lovely, with just a smattering of evil thrown in for seasoning.
Questions that I have regarding the plot:
-Why didn’t Caleb turn over the disk to the media/government after getting back from his last tour? He had approximately 12 years to do so! Why hold onto it this whole time?
-Why didn’t anyone contact him after Grace was abducted/Kyle beaten? It had happened 2 days prior to him investigating himself. Kyle would have told authorities to contact Caleb for sure if he had been conscious, and even if he wasn’t, the authorities definitely should have contacted Caleb after reporting that someone had broken into Grace’s house and left a man beaten there. With no other family, Caleb would have been her Emergency Contact.
-This is less of a question of plot, and just a wondering I have… What did the voices of the passed do for you? Did it add anything to the story? I feel like it was just strange and pushed me out of it, especially because Charity brought it up a few times and Caleb just ran with it, not thinking anything strange about it in the slightest.
Lastly, what did you all think of the plot twist at the very end?? Crazy right?? Was there any real use for it, or could Caleb have stayed Caleb?