This week sees the publication of The Clearing by Thomas Rydder. One of the ways Dean Koontz and Stephen King stand out in my mind in comparison with other authors is the attention to detail with their characters. They are real, multi-faceted individuals — often complex, sometimes grotesque, but always real.
Thomas Rydder writes that way too. There are no cookie-cutter characters in The Clearing. Some are carefree; most are anything but. Many of the characters have tragedy in their past, but none of them are broken; they just need a little love.
Here’s Lizzie, a sparky girl adapting to her aunt becoming her adopted mother.
On the night before the formal adoption, Beth had explained to Lizzie exactly what was to happen—that her mother would always be her mother, but she would now be her legal mom, and would take care of her forever. Lizzie had responded in typical Lizzie-ish fashion.
“Well, then you’ll be my Momma Beth. Is that okay?”
It was indeed okay, and slowly, the youngster had begun transforming back into the bright, cheerful girl Beth remembered.
Nor had it taken long to realize Lizzie shared her love for anything outdoors. Soon after her new daughter’s arrival, Beth was preparing for an afternoon of specimen collection, when Lizzie stuck her head around the workroom door.
“Where are you going?”
“Just out in the woods for a bit. I wanted to give a class on the Rose Hooktip moth, so I was going to collect some specimens.”
“Can I come?”
“Well…sure…I didn’t know you liked the woods.”
The shadow of a frown came across Lizzie’s features. She averted her eyes, “Daddy always took me with him went he went fishing. He showed me how to bait my own hook and everything. Sometimes, we would just walk in the woods, and he would help me lift rocks and look at all the bugs underneath.”
Beth managed to swallow the lump in her throat. “Well, I could sure use an assistant. Carrying all these jars and stuff gets to be a bit much. You interested in the job?”
The Clearing launches in paperback and eBook editions on March 1st. You can see some early comments and reviews about the book on Goodreads here. If you’re quick (and based in the US), you could be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy in this Goodreads giveaway that finishes on Thursday. (We’ll be doing giveaways for other countries at a later date).