Review: Your Son Is Alive (A Thriller)

Your Son Is Alive (A Thriller)

James Scott Bell

Available on: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Read as part of the Cloak and Dagger Challenge 2019!

Overview:

Blurb: It starts with a note that tells Dylan Reeve the son that he and his now ex-wife Erin lost to kidnapping fifteen years ago is alive. This single note, written in crayon, drags him into a world of deadly games, ghosts from the past, and the hope that their son truly is still alive.

Trigger Warnings:

Ableism, Blood, Bullying, Child Abuse, Death, Drug Use (Illicit), Drug Use (Non-Consensual), Emotional Abuse, Food, Gun Violence, Mental Abuse, Mental Illness, Murder, Non-Consensual Touching, Physical Abuse, Poor Coping Mechanisms, Self-Injury, Stockholm Syndrome, Suicide, Toxic Masculinity, Unsafe Lifestyle, Violence, Violent Imagery,

Body Count: 2

The Specs:

  • Genre
    • Technical Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Suspense Thriller
    • Theo Genre: Murder Mystery; Thriller; Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
  • Page count: 339 Pages/1963 KB
  • POV: Unlimited 3rd
  • Publication information:
    • Paperback page count:
    • Publisher: Compendium Press
    • Language:  English
    • ISBN-13: 9780910355391
    • ASIN: B07CRC52VH

Other Fun Stuff:

To Read or Not To Read (Again):

Donated

Rating out of five: 4.0 out of 5

Representation, Morality, and Sexism Tests:

  • Bechdel–Wallace Test
    • Purpose: to establish actual female characters that act independently of male characters in a story.
      • Do two female characters talk about something other than a male character? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • DuVernay Test:
    • Purpose: to establish characters of color in a story.
      • Are there fully actualized characters of color? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Ellen Willis Test:
    • Purpose: to show balance in characters regardless of gender.
      • Would two related characters still work to carry the story if their genders were reversed? Yes
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Hays Code Test:
    • Purpose: to ignore outdated and queer-degrading/punishing standards that once were the standard for produced mass media.
    • Part One: outdated moral guidelines
      • Are there any outdated “moral content” rules gloriously kicked in the teeth by this story? Yes
      • Are there people of color allowed a happy ending? Yes
      • Is there an interracial couple? No
      • Is there profanity used at all? No
      • Is there one or more homicidal acts and/or murder? Yes
    • Part Two: queer representation
      • Are there queer characters that get a happy ending? No
      • Is there an illegal or otherwise distasteful age gap between characters, queer or otherwise? No
      • Do the queer characters die tragically, violently, or at all? No
    • Pass or Fail: Half-Pass
  • Mako Mori Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that in the story there is at least one female character independent of a male character’s story.
      • Is there a female character? Yes
      • Does she get her own arc? Yes
      • Does it do anything other than serve to support a man’s story? Sort of?
    • Pass or Fail: Half-Pass
  • Sexy Lamp Test:
    • Purpose: to assure that a female character in the story serves as an active protagonist, not just a device to be used by the male main character.
      • Would the plot fall apart if the female character was replaced by a sexy looking lamp? Absolutely
    • Post-It Note Caveat:
      • Would the character be able to be replaced by a Sexy Lamp with a sticky note on it for information conveyance? Not at all
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Tauriel Test:
    • Purpose: to help support the existence of competent, independent female characters regardless of a romantic sub-plot.
      • Is there at least one woman in the story? Yes
      • Is this woman competent in her chosen occupation and not immediately shown up by a newcomer male character? Yes
      • If she has or develops a love interest during the story, either implied or explicitly stated, does she suddenly abandon her job and/or chosen path to support or pursue said love interest?  Nope!
    • Pass or Fail: Pass
  • Vito Russo Test:
    • Purpose: to establish more characters that are on the SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Acceptance), QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) or LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual/Biromantic/Bigender, Transgender, Queer/Genderqueer, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender, Pansexual/Panromantic, and others not listed here) spectrum.
      • Is there a character on the queer spectrum? Not specified
      • Are they a character beyond their orientation? No
      • Do they actually affect the plot? No
      • Is the character something beyond a punchline? No
    • Pass or Fail: Fail

Overall review:

Thoughts: That the villain was so indicative of the issues with masculine culture right now and very white-knight, a fedora and a m’lady away from the toxic jerks parading about these days was very relatable. I felt for Dylan and Erin almost like they were friends of mine dealing with this loss.

The pacing of the story was pretty good! There was a decent hook and while I wouldn’t re-read this particular volume, I would recommend it to others. And I would absolutely read more by this particular author.

Was it engaging?

Yes

Favorite Character:

Gadget!

Review format updated 5 March 2019

One thought on “Review: Your Son Is Alive (A Thriller)

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