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The Keeper's Son (Josh Thurlow Series #1)
Haunted by inner demons, Josh Thurlow returns home to Killakeet Island to command a small Coast Guard patrol boat manned by a colorful crew of locals. Dominating the glorious beauty of the little island is the majestic Killakeet Lighthouse, kept for generations by the Thurlow family. Its presence is a continuous reminder to Josh of the mysterious loss of his baby brother at sea seventeen years before, a tragedy for which he was blamed. But Josh is convinced that his brother might still be alive and begins searching for him even after German U-boats arrive and soak the beaches with blood.
Josh's quest puts him in the path of Otto Krebs-the most audacious of the U-boat commanders and a deadly enemy who may also hold the answers Josh is seeking. But when he meets Dosie Crossan, a young woman fighting her own war against the invaders, Josh must decide whether to risk all on a love that could destroy him or redeem him...
|Mass Market Paperback:
||St. Martin's Paperbacks|
||August 31, 2004|
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 51 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
( 51 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 found the following review helpful:
Something for EveryoneOct 13, 2003
By Marilyn Puett
In his seventh book Homer Hickam expertly blends facts and fiction to entertain his readers with a love story set in some of the darkest days of US history. This is very different from Mr. Hickam's successful memoir books such as Rocket Boys but is a book that this reader believes will appeal to both men and women alike and earn him a new group of fans. The main plot revolves around Josh Thurlow, son of the lighthouse keeper, and Dosie Crossan, who has returned to the island to find herself. Years before, Josh's baby brother had been lost at sea and throughout his life, Josh had blamed himself. His every thought and decision in life was painted with the brush of guilt and an attempt at redemption for his actions. The book has a large cast of characters including Krebs, a German U-Boat commander with a conscience and Vogel, a Nazi commander without one, Harro, a young seaman under Krebs' command, Doc Folsom, the island's doctor, Willow, the local "hoo-doo," and Rex Stewart, a Hollywood cowboy stuntman ineligible for the draft but 'drafted' nonetheless into the coastal horse patrol. Even though Otto is the enemy, he and Josh form a strange bond and respect each other professionally. And though Josh doesn't know it, Otto may hold the key to his brother's disappearance. This book is well researched with wonderful characters. The action holds your attention and shows a realistic picture of life at sea. It also describes day-to-day life on a remote island with such realism that you can smell the salt air and feel the sand in your shoes. Mr. Hickam writes with such attention to detail that the climactic battle scene will have you gripping the arms of your chair. The Keeper's Son should appeal to everyone. It has history, romance, local color and charm, eccentric characters and battles on land and sea. It will be a great book for the upcoming cooler weather. Curl up in your favorite chair with a cup of hot chocolate and be entertained and educated. This is the first book in a series and I anxiously look forward to the next book.
7 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Going Home to the Outer BanksNov 11, 2003
By Gerald S. Peabody
I read this wonderful book in one day! I've walked the beach, swam the waters, watched the waves and the sunsets on the Outer Banks, and Homer Hickam takes me back there with "The Keeper's Son." The irascible, independent islanders of Hickham's Killikeet are people who live on in my imagination, and that's the sign of a great writer - someone who creates characters so real you're sure they could be part of your life if only you could get inside the pages of a book. But Hickham has gone one better, he's given us a rousing tale of World War II and the courageous islanders who fought off German U-Boats that tried to cripple shipping along the eastern coast of the U.S. Sometimes a narrative gets choppy when an author jumps back and forth between two main characters' points of view, but not Hickam's. Both the sub captain and the Coast Guard ensign are men you come to respect and care about. Added to all this is a series of love stories, the love of brothers and of fathers and sons, the love of a man and a woman, the love of a community has for its own, both native and adopted. And wait, that's not all - Hickam has added a mystery that has you guessing until the very end - is the long lost son really lost or has he come home. Hickam has hinted this will be only the first in a series of books about his Killkeet Islanders and I can't wait to get back to them. This is one book (or series of books) I'll buy for myself and not just rely on the public library to supply me. In fact, I'll probably buy it for my daughter who spent a summer working for the National Park Service on Cape Lookout as a loggerhead turtle monitor. She's going to love it because it will mean going home to her too.
6 of 6 found the following review helpful:
A beautiful story wonderfully toldNov 09, 2003
I very much enjoyed Hickam's first in this series. It is a touching story of a lighthouse family nearly torn apart by the loss of the keeper's son by another son, Josh Thurlow. I love Dosie, the horsewoman (like me!). Clearly, Hickam has knowledge of horses and women. Dosie wears jodphurs and long boots just as I do (they tuck inside, you know). His writing is lilting, his use of the dialect spare but just right. I was a little afraid of this book because of the U-boats and battle scenes and such but they fit so well into the overall story that I came to understand that they were the darkness to the light that Hickam was working us toward. Thank you, Mr. Hickam, for a wonderful story. I am looking forward to the sequel!
6 of 6 found the following review helpful:
Great start for a seriesOct 01, 2003
If this is the first in a series as it says on Hickam's web site, it's a great start. It's hard for me to describe this novel but I'm going to try. First, it's a page-turner. But Hickam writes with such power, and considering his earlier books, I think he is approaching a level in his work that puts him up there with the serious writers, the Updykes, the Mailers, the Steinbecks, the Hemingways, etc. and so forth. Not that I would turn readers off with those names suggesting that this is a weighty, serious book. It isn't by any means. It is a lilting book that often had me laughing aloud. Other times, though, I was taken away by Hickam's writing that gave me much food for thought. Essentially at its basic core, this is a novel of a lighthouse family and of a man in search for his brother on a quiet island where everybody just wants to be left alone to fish. Hickam weaves in a backdrop of war that is bloody and fresh in his approach. He also tells a parallel story of a U-boat captain and his crew which is quite effective and affecting. I began to understand something of the motivation of these men and the women they left behind. All in all, this novel should set Hickam along a fiction track that should be every bit as rewarding as his series of memoirs were.
5 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Such a wonderful novelMay 12, 2005
By Phyllis and Jack
I knew I had something special from the opening pages when Josh loses his little brother at sea. The writing was so powerful, I could feel the great loss of that little boy. It surprised me when the story picked up some years later with Josh returned to Killakeet. But he is still looking for Jacob. This is a powerful resonating note that carries through this romantic wartime story. The romance between Dosie and Josh reminds me very much of Doc and Suzy in Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday and since I know Mr. Hickam is an admirer of Steinbeck, I just wonder... anyway, Dosie is a great character, vulnerable yet strong, headstrong yet tender, a woman of action, yet romantic. I love the way the action is moved along while Josh and Dosie are in bed together, pillow talk about U-boats and the beach patrol! You don't find that in many books. I loved Keeper Jack, of course, and Queenie O'Neal and Buckets, her husband. The chapter on Queenie telling her husband she's going to get Josh married is priceless because you can tell Buckets doesn't have a clue what she's talking about but, in the end, he gets what he wants and I think she does, too. As Hickam writes, there's nothing like seeing a lonely, tortured man to put a woman in the mood for romance! In fact, there are a number of these little writing gems throughout the book that makes me believe Hickam is a very underrated writer when it comes to understanding and writing about the human condition.
For another instance, Josh asks Dosie what's she's been doing since they knew each other as children and Dosie asks him if he wants the awful truth or a pretty story. Josh says the pretty story and she proceeds to give him a litany of woes including losing her money, falling in love with a musician, having a miscarriage, losing her job, losing the musician, becoming a falling down drunk, etc. until now she's washed up on Killakeet. Josh contemplates that, then says "I'm glad I didn't ask for the awful truth." I laughed out loud, startling the dog. Just good stuff. Little surprises all along the way. Many chuckles, some tears. I even liked the action scenes at sea fighting the U-boats because the author made me care about the boys (most of them teenagers or in their early 20's) on both sides. The romance between Krebs and Miriam is classic stuff. Why they don't make a movie out of this one, I don't know. Sure has all the elements.
Highly recommended to lovers of good reads and good literature. You won't put it down too often once you start reading it.
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