Thursday, September 10, 2015

Critical Praise

They say that for an artist, there’s nothing more difficult than the task of getting respect in one’s own home town.  No less than the great Elvis Presley was so afraid of this phenom that he delayed for years the challenge of putting on a concert in Memphis.  So try to imagine my surprise and delight this weekend to see my home town newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, review not one but two of my novels, and give both stellar reviews!  This was fabulous news, especially as it comes on the heels of some amazing reader comments as posted on for my latest novel, The Dark.

Let’s get right to it.  Messages, my first novel, is a thriller and crime story laced with strong humor that attempts to blow the doors of the TV news industry while also weaving a compelling reality-inspired tale.  Reviewer Mary Kim Dodson, writing in the Home + Life section of the Sunday paper, says,  “Dialogue in this book is amazingly clever, fast paced, sophisticated and at times extremely raunchy, but always thoroughly entertaining. . . .  Carr writes very compelling fiction.”

 Then she goes on to check out A Journal of the Crazy Year, which, as a sci-fi/horror novel, could not be more different from Messages.  Dodson loved it.  She admits she approached the genre with great skepticism, but writes, “In reading it you will laugh out loud, be horrified, scared, ponder the meaning of life, and maybe even cry a little. . . . The book is a roller-coaster ride with a controversial ending that this reader thoroughly enjoyed.”

How about that?  Two reviews, two home runs.  Dodson, who has years of library experience, told me she thoroughly enjoyed both novels and is looking forward to seeing more from this author.   Many thanks to her and to Inger Sandal at the Arizona Daily Star for making these reviews happen.  

This great feedback comes right on the heels of another flurry of very nice reader comments about my latest submission, the sci-fi/horror novel The Dark.  The book asks this question:  Would it be possible to fly so far out into space that you actually pass God, and leave him (or her, if you prefer) behind?  How could you tell? What would be the effects on human behavior?  Well, you can probably tell from the cover art that whatever is going on, it ain’t good.

Rosemary Goudreau’s 5-Star review is short and to the point.  “This book is a page-turner extraordinaire,” she writes.  “The fast-paced plot made me hold my breath, and the characters reminded me of people I’ve known, good and bad.  As great novels do, this one makes you think—in this case, about the universe and what’s happening at the edge. And better than anything I’ve read in a long time, The Dark touches on the existence of God with nuance and smarts.  This is a great book.  Well worth your time.”

In his 5-Star review, Chris Wadsworth calls The Dark  “a truly terrifying novel.  Many times I found myself pausing and looking up from the book just to catch my breath.   Part old-fashioned space exploration sci-fi, part haunted spaceship, part zombie nightmare, part gothic romance with lovers, storms and lightning—The Dark has it all and it somehow works.  Among the highlights — the large cast of interesting characters.  Each is unique. . . . Your heroes are deeply flawed. Your villains have sympathetic sides. It makes the adventure and horror to come all the more real because you feel something — admiration, sadness, fear, pity — for each character.”  And Chris throws out a warning for those who might have a thing about spiders:  “Let’s just say these creepy crawlies have been in my dreams (nightmares?) several times while reading this book.”  He concludes with this advice: “Now that I think about it, The Dark may be a book best read in the bright light of day.”

These stellar comments add to a large body of earlier praise that have come out in the weeks since publication, with readers writing such things as:

— “Do not read at night, you won't be able to sleep.”

— “I wanted to read it all in one night, but didn't want to read it after dark.  Best book I’ve read in a very long time!!”

— “It is one of the most well-written, descriptive, character-developed sci-fi stories I've read in the last 5 years. . . and I very much look forward to reading more from this amazing author.”

— “Forrest Carr's The Dark is one of THE most intense sci-fi novels I have read in years!!!   You won't be able to put it down, but be afraid.  Be very, very afraid of what you'll read on the next page!!”

— “I LOVED this! Couldn't read it fast enough, and it scared the hell out of me.  Forrest Carr delivers another gem!”

— “Best Horror sci-fi I’ve read in a decade.”

— “The Dark is a compelling science fiction thriller.... Shear fun.”

— “I loved this book! I could not put it down. In fact, the night I finished it, I had a nightmare about it. A novel hasn't given me a nightmare since 1987.  I highly recommend The Dark.”

Right now the novel carries a 4.9 reader rating on Amazon with 11 reviews posted.  Professional critics have been heard from, too.  Kirkus Reviews called The Dark a non-stop “thrillfest” and a “rollicking adventure” from top to bottom. 

When you add all that to the reader and critical praise from my first two novels, I have to tell you, it’s been an amazing experience for me.  When I embarked down this road, I had no idea whether I had the talent to pull off fiction that people might enjoy reading.  This has been a wonderful, exciting, and truly fabulous adventure—and an important personal transformation.

I hope you will check out one or more of my efforts—and yes, I would suggest starting with The Dark, which I think is shaping up to be my personal best.  Many thanks to those of you who’ve already done so, and especially to those who’ve taken time to reach out to me personally or privately.

By the way, I dedicated that third novel, The Dark, to my surgeon, Dr. Sanjay Ramakumar, without whose skills the novel never would have been written, for the simple reason that my life would have been cut very short through cancer.  I had the great pleasure of putting a signed copy of the book into his hands this month.  That was a treat.  Of course, we now know that I didn’t beat the cancer, but we did beat it back, gaining me some critical time.  You  may remember me saying at the time that I planned to make good use of the days I have left.   Writing that novel was part of that commitment.

I am very grateful those who’ve chosen to travel this road with me through reading one or more of those novels and/or occasionally taking in this blog.  I hope you will continue to travel along with me as the future unfolds.


Mary Kim Dodson’s full article can be found here.  

To learn more about my writing, go here, where you can find detailed reader and critical reviews, download sample chapters, and find purchase links to all three novels.

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