On Parson’s Creek, by Richard Sutton, is a story of mystery and intrigue, of myth and legend come to life, and of one boy’s quest for the truth.
Jack and his family have moved to a small town nestled in forest at the feet of the Cascades. Being a curious young man, Jack goes exploring in the forest around his home and stumbles upon a long abandoned mining site. Intrigued by the history, Jack seeks to learn more, but what he finds doesn’t at all match the ‘official’ story, gleaned from old newspapers, interviews with townsfolk, and his own knowledge of steam engines. Determined to discover what really happened, Jack digs deeper and deeper. What he finds is something that defies rational explanation, at least as we know it.
Jack is new to the area, a close-knit, rural community. Sutton did a wonderful job of portraying a young man trying to fit into a new school, and make friends when he’s seen as an outsider. This doesn’t get easier when he starts snooping in things the locals don’t like talking about. In the end, Jack doesn’t find quite all the answers he’s looking for, but then, that’s how life really works, isn’t it? And we, as the reader, are left with a bit of mystery, and wonder, for we’ve brushed against something that is, perhaps, better left in shadow, and the dancing eddies of time.
Sutton’s On Parson’s Creek pulled me in right from the beginning. I couldn’t put it down. I felt as if I were right there with Jack, as he went about his adventures. Great description helped flesh the scenes out, making it easy to ‘live the story.’ I enjoyed so much that I’ve added this delightful read to my class reading lists so my students have the option of choosing it for an assignment.
There were a few downsides. I typically rather look at story than nitpick mechanics. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention these few things for the more technical minded prospects. The formatting could be better. The pound sign demarcations could be better handled by being placed centerline, and possibly using a different symbol, such as the asterisk.
There are also several places with misspelled words, or grammatical errors. I found the story captivating enough that I actually skimmed over these at first, my brain correcting subconsciously as I went along. Many times, I had to stop and go back because I just had this nagging feeling something was amiss. For me, it was not enough to detract from the story at all. However, if these things, however infrequent, are likely to frizzle your sensibilities, you may wish to wait til a revision is released. The only exception, one that jarred me to a halt, is likely not one the average person would even pick up on- the word ‘Gigantopithecus’. In all instances of the word, it is missing the ‘h’. It stuck out because I am an anthropologist by schooling, and though palaeoanthropology is not my particular forte, I do enjoy learning about it.