Atmosphere Press (2022)
Reviewed by Kathy Stickles for Reader Views (10/2022)
Okay, I admit that I wanted to read this book desperately when I heard about it for one reason…. Gone with the Wind is my all-time favorite movie. And yes, I do agree that the movie is a very unrealistic depiction of a horrible part of our country’s history but… I still fall victim every time I flip through the channels and find it on TV. That will never change! Having said that, not for one second did I expect to read such an incredibly captivating story that was both well written and mysterious and held my attention so easily that I was able to read it cover to cover without putting it down. I love when this happens, don’t you?
This is the story of Cassady and Kevin, two teenage boys living through the insane time that was the late 60s and early 70s and forming a friendship that they both thought would never end. These boys, during the heat of the summer of 1969, sneak into one of the MGM theaters backlots. Where else could you do that but Culver City? Along the way, they meet new friends, or so they believe, in the paranormal world who have been dead for a very long time. People like Scarlett O’Hara, Ashley Wilkes, and the Three Musketeers, just to name a few. They find old and decaying movies sets that, as soon as they step into this new world, become new and beautiful again. These ghostly new friends and forgotten movie sets lead Cassady and Kevin into a summer they will never forget. The question is…. Is this going to be a summer that will live in their memories forever as the best of their lives, or is this an evil place that will end up destroying them? For that answer, my friends, you will have to read the book.
Brant Vickers creates a number of fascinating and charismatic supporting characters in the real world to guide or dissuade the boys along the way. Friends of the boys from school, an enchanting and real girlfriend for one of our main characters, and a librarian who has a connection to both of these worlds. The author gives to the reader a mesmerizing and at times downright frightening ride between these two worlds and the many real life and other worldly situations that the boys have to face along the way, all leading to an extremely well-written end that really does mean the difference between life and death.
I really do not have the words to express how much I enjoyed reading “Culver City.” Mr. Vicker’s weaves an incredible tale which takes place in both the natural and supernatural worlds and he does it with a true flair for writing that a reader does not always find. I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. 5 stars!!