summary ¿ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ✓ James AndersonMewhere around page 30 35 something clicked and this book had me hooked tighter than two dogs caughtforgive me my trespassesThis book has the same ambling reader friendly cadence as the first entry in the Ben Jones saga Too many characters to count Some are decent some are bad some are angels disguised Ben s the kind of guy working on his wings as far as that goesThere s a bad guy out on Highway 117 in Utah near the high desert He drives an old cab over White Freightliner an antiue these days but ite the sporty model back in the seventies This bad guy dodges the scales avoids roadblocks and state trooper checkpoints Why he s dodging the law is another mystery What he s hauling is even of a mysteryBut this trucker outlaw has managed to almost kill Ben sideswiping his trailer while passing him at a high rate of speed on an icy highwayThere s also a mysterious cargo Ben Jones finds awaiting him at the last truck stop before descending into the flat desert A huge dog and a kid that the guy Pedro who handles truck tires for the truckers who pass through has left for Ben to carry along with him A note pinned to the kid s coveralls reading Please Take Care Of My Juan I Trust In You BenThings get weirder People get even weirder erWarning sudden and deadly violence erupts every 40 50 pagesRevenge is slow coming if it arrives at all Ben Jones is a philosopher than a gear jamming Mike HammerSoftboiled poetic mystery built Gorgeous and...Hung?! upon a foundation of memorable charactersI loved every line of this novel My delivery days were generally spent without the luxury of man made signs and addresses no numbers or arrows or mailboxes or even fences or mile markers My customers liked it that way and lived the roadless dead end life with a kind of fierce passion for isolation that few would want and even fewer would survive for very long For the most part their philosophy was make do or do without and even some essentials especially water when and where it was needed were considered luxuriesDesert trees that go without water for long periods develop a rock hard stringy grain that resists death with a grim and tenacious attachment to survival Old desert rats like George thought such trees were pretty things but a bit too fragile to truly respect As a result in my opinion the desert rats rarely died from doing without If and when they died it wassually from an accidental overdose of stubborness This one is worth searching out Borrow it from a library search eBay buy it new on I don t know what to compare this one to I mentioned the great Harold Adams in my review of the 1st novel by James Anderson Steinbeck ll work too You like Craig McDonald or Frank Gruber this is your kind of mystery novel I ve come to think that the only thing you can count on with people is that they will always be human good and bad The Mangrove Tree usually both and occasionally at the same time Out in the high Utah desert there s not a whole hell of a lot of anything mainly there s one road highway 117 and miles and miles of sparsely populated brush and canyons It s not country for normal folk but it s sort of the edge of the knownniverse where various oddballs and eccentrics and hermits have decided that they are done moving and planted themselves jealously guarding their acres of broken down trailers and rotting car parts with shotguns or walking the mountain roads carrying giant crosses In the "summer it s bitter heat dehydrating you You really need to read the author s first book The Never Open Desert "it s bitter heat dehydrating you You really need to read the author s first book The Never Open Desert before reading Lullaby Road because there are a lot of references to things that happened in the first book and I think that it
Would Be Frustrating Notbe frustrating not know what all those references mean Frankly I wasn t crazy about the first book which couldn t decide whether it was literary fiction with a few mysterious ndertones or a thriller It didn t do either particularly well the beginning was like watching paint dry and when things finally began to happen they just weren t interesting to me The good news is that I enjoyed Lullaby Road a lot Ben Jones is an almost 40 year old JewishNative American orphan raised in Utah by a Mormon couple He s a trucker delivering packages to desert rats hardscrabble ranchers and other assorted exiles who chose to live off 117 He keeps stumbling pon bad situations One morning before he starts his route an acuaintance leaves him a note at a truck stop reuesting that Ben take charge of his small child because of some nspecified danger The child is accompanied by a large dog On the same morning Ben s 18 year old friend and neighbor dumps her 4 month old infant on him so she can go to class Instead of taking the day off from work like any sane person would do Ben piles the whole group into his truck and heads off into a snow storm The author creates wonderful characters and descriptions like the man who has invented a solar powered doghouse complete with reading light Unfortunately they all seem to be armed However he insists on introducing mysteries that get in the way of the character studies at which he excels This book has a hit and run an abandoned child and several murders That s a lot of crime for a town with almost no residents The mysteries are all resolved by the end but I confess that I was flummoxed by the child s story It was too subtle or cryptic for me The bad guy just appeared out of the blue and I have no idea what happened with the kid at the end of the book Some better editing would have helped here and elsewhere in the book as well If you se term desert rat 4 times in 3 pages you ve sed it too much I also could have done with fewer vehicle descriptions Ultimately I liked the writing style very much The people felt real and I wanted to know what happened to them I would read by this author but I wish he would skip the mysteries next timeI received a free copy of this book from the publisher In Lullaby Road Ben Jones is still making deliveries to the inhabitants of an isolated stretch of Utah desert The people there all seem to be hiding out from something or someone but they are Ben s life and livelihood and they are eually dependent on him The story begins with Ben stopping to buy fuel before beginning his route and finding a young child wearing a note asking Ben to take care of her and Ben being Ben can t refuse As Only by oddballs fugitives and those looking to escape the world So when local truck driver Ben Jones finds an abandoned mute Hispanic child at a lonely gas station along his route far from any semblance of proper civilization he knows something has gone. ,
Title Lullaby Road A NovelAuthor James AndersonPublisher Crown Series Ben Jones 2Reviewed By Arlena DeanRating FourReviewLullaby Road by James AndersonMy ThoughtsNow this was ite a interesting read about Ben Jones who runs a tractor trailer delivery service truck driver that traveled on Highway 117 that was a desolate Utah desert making deliveries to people in isolated areas Ben was known to deliver packages to desert rats hardscrabble ranchers and other assorted exiles who chose to live off 117 Now this route that Ben took I found it interesting to know that Fed Ex and UPS would not drive on this snow blinding roadWhat Ben finds while on his journeys will definitely keep your interest as it seems he kept getting himself involved in A good follow Brothers up to Anderson s The Never Open Dessert Diner and Ben Jones hard working life as a delivery service trucker making stops 5 days a week for the past 20 years along a dusty isolated desert road This time he takes to the road in wintertime when the road is treacherous and with a couple of children plus a dog along for the rideThe story is meandering laced with humor surprises and solid characters Old favorites from the Diner reappear and new ones come into the mix like the mysterious child left with Ben by Pedro the tire man at the local truck stop carrying a pinned note that read Please Ben Bad Trouble My son Take him today His name is Juan Trust you only Tell no one This mystery propelled me to read and I enjoyed being along for Ben s ride 375 stars Thank you to First to Read books and Crown Publishing for this ARC Expected publication Jan 16 2018I again sit in judgement of Ben Jones life He is the truck driver from the novel The Never Open Desert Diner He is still in Price Utah running his tractor trailer delivery service on Rt 117 to a group of misfits and miscreants still befriending and protecting Ginny and her daughter Annabelle In this novel Ben gets involved with a child smuggling ring one of his ex s and her new boyfriend and a child that is mute but way older than her years There are a number of accidents both truck and person and a few murders A number of new people join the cast as well as characters from the Never Open Desert Diner resurface A number of places I had to laugh and a number of places in this book made me sad Character development is done well and the changes in the main character Ben from one book to the next are probable This novel is wrappedp well while leaving the opening for a followup novel possibly sing Walt s son as its main villain The Never Open Desert Diner wasn t an incredible book but it was good enough for me to be excited about this seuel I loved Ben and his long stretch of highway The characters and setting were ripe for a continuation perhaps many many further adventuresUnfortunately Lullaby Road didn t work for me About a third of the way through I realized I had absolutely no idea what was going on Characters blended together nanswered Leaders Eat Last uestions lingered on too long so that I forgot I cared The seuence of events wasn t clear I think a lot of the plot reuires advances knowledge of the first book but I remembered it pretty well and it still didn t make sense so I dunnoThere are some charming moments where Ben givess delicious social commentary from his La muralla verde uniue point of view Even while I had no idea what was happening with the plot the book has some charm Still I hated it overall When I saw this was a seuel to The Never Open Desert Diner Iickly grabbed it p And while it wasn t the 5 star review the first book was for me I still loved it and revisiting some old friends A momentary silence was all that marked the "passing of summer into winter After living most of my almost forty years in the high desert of Utah twenty "of summer into winter After living most of my almost forty years in the high desert of Utah twenty a truck I had come to the conclusion there were really only two seasons hot and windy and cold and windy Everything else was just a variation on the two Late in the evening I lay half awake in my single bed and knew the silence meant the season had changed I like to think maybe I know a thing or two about silence Real silence is than just absence of sound it is something you feel A few heartbeats earlier a steady wind scattered the leftover sounds from evening a car a steady wind scattered the leftover sounds from evening a car passing neighbors talking from behind closed doors somewhere a dog barking all the sual muffled racket of nearby lives Then there was nothing nothing at all as if the desert and everyone in it had vanished and left nothing behind but an indifferent starless light I loved coming back home to the characters from Route 117 I don t know what it is I love about this story but it just gets me I guess the idea of people just living in a small place Some of them coming together to help each other when they can This book is full of evilness and some murder And I don t like what happened to a couple of animals and one of my favorite characters Ben is heading out one morning to start his haul He s getting gas when the owner tells him there is something for him down a few lanes Then he locks himself away in the gas station Ben thinks it s some kind of a joke ntil he finds a child and a dog out in the winter cold Of course he has to take them with him There is a #Note Pinned To The Child #pinned to the child shirt asking for him to watch the child He has no time to try to figure it out and off they go He ends p with his neighbor s baby as well So here he is with a child dog and baby driving the winter roads and hoping nothing will happen to them on the treacherous roads Sounds like an ordinary day Not This ends p being a journey that no one should have to take but there are evil people in the world and the people on Route 117 have to ban together to try to help one another Oh and not get killed in the process I enjoyed the book and the people so much Like I said it wasn t as good as the first one but that s okay It was still great BloggingForBooksHappy Reading Mel MY BLOG Melissa Martin s Reading List Superior seuel to the author s first novel featuring truck driver Ben Jones The Never Open Desert DinerFor 20 30 pages I felt like putting this book down I d just come off of Ken Bruen s In the Galway Silence and there s hardly anything written in the new century that can rival a Ken Bruen novelSo. Ben Jones protagonist of the glowingly reviewed Never Open Desert Diner returns in a devastatingly powerful literary crime novel about parenthood loss and the desert in winterWinter has come to Highway 117 a remote road through the Utah desert trafficked. En tries to learn the little girl s story and find her father he and the people along his route face misfortunes danger and tragedy But it s not all bleak There are powerful moments of compassion redemption and people rising above their sense of being permanently damaged and hopeless a potential romance and the forging of human connections and making a family Anderson writes nforgettable and richly developed characters and his description of the austere beauty of the desert is brilliantly evocative The haunting image of a child s shoe with lights flashing in the heel has lodged in my brain and heart The Never Open Desert Diner and Lullaby Road are so much than crime fiction much like James Lee Burke s novels and I think Anderson addresses that issue sagely in a recent interview I read a lot of poetry and always have and I find that my love of poetry informs my prose in ways that are distinctive and not often found in crime fiction or fiction in general Still though I try not to go overboard lyrically and keep the focus on the story and the voice of Ben Jones as much as I can I don t think I actually turned to crime and I am not certain my novels can be accurately referred to as crime novels I had a very precarious childhood and young adulthood and crime particularly violence of various kinds was a part of my daily life as a victim and as a witness in that sense crime or crimes as they appear in my novels are a part of life part of the fabric of Ben s life and not the central focus Overall as a novelist I am much concerned with the effect violence has on s directly and indirectly that can manifest itself over time a kind of personal geological time that results in seismic events After a brilliant first novel some authors suffer a sopho slump but James Anderson is certainly not one of them His first novel The Never Open Desert Diner was a book I was telling everyone about and I ll be doing the same with Lullaby Road While it can be read as a stand alone I encourage readers to read The Never Open Desert Diner first both to gain familiarity with the characters and the events that shaped them and because I think nothing Anderson writes should be missedThank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review I m between 4 and 45 starsSome books seem tailor made for seuels While you re reading them you get the sense that there s so much to the story and in some cases the author leaves you hanging But some books seem complete when you ve finished them and although you enjoyed spending time with the characters and found the story compelling you d never expect a seuel Of course there are other times you dislike a book you couldn t imagine reading a follow p but that s another storyI really enjoyed reading James Anderson s The Never Open Desert Diner see my review last year The story of a trucker in the Utah desert whose solitary life is turned The Oswald Reflection upside down by the appearance of a mysterious woman was tremendously satisfying and even a littleirky and I loved the characters Anderson created But I was surprised to see that Anderson had written a seuel Lullaby Road not that it stopped me from grabbing it because I thought Ben s story was toldBoy was I wrong Ben is still working as a trucker on Route 117 which most of the year is either affected by back breaking heat or treacherous snow and ice He s trying to pull his life back together heat or treacherous snow and ice He s trying to pull his life back together some semblance of normalcy after he was shaken to the core by tragedy All he wants to do is make his deliveries get paid and surviveOne snowy morning making his routine stop for diesel before getting The Rabbit Who Wants to Go to Harvard underway on his route the proprietor of the truck stop tells Ben someone left something for him It s not just something it s a small Hispanic child who refuses to speak and the child is accompanied by an over protective dog A note is pinned to the child which says Please Ben Bad trouble My son Take him today His name is Juan Trust you only Tell No One PedroPedro was the tire man at the truck stop but he seems to have disappeared No one will give Ben answers in fact everyone from the truck stop has disappeared He can t leave the child alone in the snow but the last thing Ben needs is a child to worry about especially one which appears to have a penchant to take off running in an instant He needs to find Pedro but he also needs to start his route before weather conditions get too treacherousThat split second decision changes everything for Ben Everything seems out of sorts on his route even the people and customers he knows all seem a bit different And in the course of the next several days he ll realize just how much danger is around him danger that threatens those he knows as well as him and the child in his care It s as bleak as the road that lies ahead of him Lullaby Road has a lot of twists and turns some which make sense and some which confuse so I m being purposely vague in my plot summary Ben issed to encountering people who have taken to the desert because they re not interested in social interaction and are on the run from something but Ben finds a lot about those he s known only casually and encounters some new personalities along the way Barely anyone is particularly friendly and some are downright deadlyI love the way Anderson tells a story and I love the hardscrabble characters he "has created I never Quantum (Captain Chase uitenderstood why so many people are ick to dislike Ben except for incidents they refer to "created I never ite Perilous Love (Sinful Souls MC understood why so many people areick to dislike Ben except for incidents they refer to his past since he doesn t seem much different than the rest of them and his reactions to the situations he s in seem to be fairly natural yet many people call him out for his behavior But beyond that I was fully engrossed in this story even as it got a little confusing and Children of Blood and Bone ultimately darker than I had anticipatedI d definitely recommend reading Anderson s first book before this one as Lullaby Road refers to things that occurred in and characters from that book But this one is a truly worthy seuel I m not sure if another book is in store but now I m hoping there isNetGalley and Crown Publishing provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for annbiased review Thanks for making this available See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoriablogspotcom or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 Terribly awry With the help of his eccentric neighbors Ben sets out to help the kid and learn the truth In the process he makes new friends and loses old ones finds himself in mortal danger and Laird of Shadows (MacDougall Legacy Book 1) uncovers buried secrets far painful than he could have imagin.