Tucker Trivette is in a bind. He joined the Navy straight out of high school. Without many options, it seemed like the right thing to do. Now he's heading home. To what, he's not sure, but he's hoping things are better. They're not. Set upon by hard times and a nemesis from his youth, Tucker seeks redemption and reward hidden deep in the forest, to reclaim a legacy hinted at within his grandfather's cryptic journal. Tucker understands the value of friendship and family--and paying his debts. Determined to play the hand he's been dealt to start over and succeed, he'll have to bend the rules to get there. The Last Entry is painted in the woodland tones of western North Carolina's rural mountains--a cultural crossroads of post-modern Appalachia where old time traditions clash with a rapidly changing world. Jim Hamilton weaves his expertise in natural history and the underground world of ginseng into a story and characters that reflect the region's struggles with poverty and a black market-economy still tied to its land and forests.
Plot: Overall, the novel delivers a well-executed narrative that is easy to get lost in; transports readers to a different world; and allows the imagination to run wild. Readers can feel the Appalachian community culture through this page-turner of a novel. The plotline twists and turns are engaging, the tension is just right, and the unlikely hero provides a pleasant surprise.
Prose/Style: The author has a fun and entertaining style of writing that reads like a movie. It allows for readers to become entirely immersed and carried away by the protagonist's quest.
Originality: The author's experience with natural and cultural history shines through, lending credibility to the story. Although the account is a work of fiction, this type of personal narrative intimately welcomes audiences into a world they otherwise would never experience.
Character Development: The characters are memorable, showcasing a satisfying depth of internal conflict, personal development, motivation, nuance, and complexity. They provide spunk and fresh uniqueness that carry the story well.
Date Submitted: June 30, 2020