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The Never-Open Desert Diner: A Novel por…
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The Never-Open Desert Diner: A Novel (edição 2016)

por James Anderson (Autor)

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29310268,991 (3.99)42
Ben Jones is an honorable but down-on-his luck truck driver on a lonely Utah highway. His life takes a sudden turn into violence, mystery and longing upon finding a beautiful woman playing a cello in an isolated house in the high desert.
Título:The Never-Open Desert Diner: A Novel
Autores:James Anderson (Autor)
Informação:Crown (2016), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
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The Never-Open Desert Diner: A Novel por James Anderson

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Mostrando 1-5 de 105 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Not what I expected

Great story telling with lots of unusual desert critters (human, mostly) and a twist ending that I never saw coming. Good read. ( )
  frankdu4 | Jul 12, 2021 |
driving 100 miles daily same road, FedX and UPS
  18cran | Apr 18, 2021 |
We travel a lonely stretch of desolate highway…State Road 117…in northern Utah. The highway sees it’s share of loners…drifters…ranchers, and the few “natives” that live along this road and get almost all their life supplying supplies from Ben Jones. Jones is quiet a character in himself…a half-Indian, half-Jewish independent trucker with a dry sense of humor. Ben isn’t what you would call highly or even slightly, “observant” ...but he does notice a single building standing in what was to be housing development and the woman that appears to be occupying the “such as it is” dwelling. He diffidently notices her the second time he sees her as she is naked, sitting on the porch with a stringless cello and a gun which she is diffidently pointing at him. The cast of characters and the happening continue in this vein until the last page. Think of this as a somewhat “bent”... certainly different...mystery/romance. Of the many strange characters you will meet along the pages is the one I liked the most… and from whom the book takes it’s title… the widowed septuagenarian owner, operator of the diner…an empty but well-maintained relic much like its owner, who we find has many secrets… one of which is literally too awful to comptemplate. ( )
  Carol420 | Feb 23, 2020 |
4.5 stars.

Set against the backdrop of the Utah desert, The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson is an atmospheric novel that is part mystery and part character study. With its incredible setting and cast of eclectic but vastly appealing characters, this captivating debut will leave readers hopeful it is just the first of many installments starring truck driver Ben Jones.

Ben is an independent trucker whose route along the desolate 117 is much more than a job. Caring deeply for the diverse customers he delivers packages to, his compassion for the residents leaves him on the verge of losing his business. Fiercely protective of their desire for privacy, Ben shields them from the sudden scrutiny of strangers even when offered an opportunity that could potentially pull him from the brink of financial ruin. Bewitched by the mysterious, ephemeral beauty whom he meets in a rather unorthodox (yet humorous) encounter, Ben is unwittingly drawn into a puzzling mystery that puts him and those he cares for in danger.

An orphan who was abandoned by his mother when he was a baby, Ben is one of those characters that is impossible not to like. He is a bit of loner yet he cares deeply for the customers on his route. He respects their vehement need for privacy and he never pushes for more contact than they are willing to give him. He is pragmatic and accepting of his fate even in the face of losing the truck route that is more calling than job. Down to earth with a surprising amount of depth under his somewhat taciturn exterior, Ben is a champion of those he cares for and he will do just about anything to protect them from outsiders.

One of the many notable characters on his route, Walt Butterfield is the cranky and enigmatic owner of The Well-Known Desert Diner. While many people know of the events of his tragic past, few know the actual details of the tragedy that continues to haunt him decades after it occurred. Walt's diner is now closed for business yet he meticulously keeps the interior exactly as it was the day he shut the doors to the public. Hardened and irrefutably shaped by his misfortune, Walt has a surprising capacity for love when the prospect to right a wrong presents itself.

The unexpected appearance of Claire, a mysterious woman on the run from her past, provides Ben an unanticipated chance at love. Immediately smitten, he returns as often as possible with hopes of catching a glimpse of the beautiful stranger. Their encounters slowly evolve from slightly antagonistic to friendship then surprisingly, to romance. However, Claire's unresolved past soon collides with her present which leaves Ben uncertain about their future together.

The harsh Utah desert is as much a character in the story as it is the setting. The descriptions of the bleak landscape are tempered by Mr. Anderson's uncanny ability to find beauty in an arid region that is truly breathtaking. This wild and untamed location springs vibrantly to life and the reader experiences the vagaries of weather and the bleak isolation alongside Ben and the assorted cast of characters.

The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson is a fascinating peek into the lives of people who manage to thrive despite the hardship and heartbreak they experience while eking out a hard fought existence in an unforgiving stretch of isolated desert. Beautifully rendered with an ensemble of quirky but likable characters, this debut is an entertaining and thought-provoking story that I absolutely loved and highly recommend to anyone who enjoys character driven novels with a hint of mystery.

( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
3 1/2 stars. An enjoyable neo-noir. I loved the setting. From the dangerous and empty hellscape of a desert to the empty shell of a diner. It all worked brilliantly towards that fatalist cynicism characteristic of the genre. Peaking through the dry crust of genre was an attitude very uncharacteristic of the genre. The novel is ultimately about a good man without an angle trying to help the world around him. Choosing noir with a character like this made for a lot of passive writing in reaction to external circumstances. Lots of exposition. For me, unconvincing character changes. It wasn't even a very convincing noir. It read like noir cosplay. The main character, too modest to describe his genitals directly, wasn't a hero I feared and as much as the he was described as an asshole by other characters, I never saw much evidence that was true. The story was engaging and fun to read through but didn't add very much to the conversation. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
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Ben Jones is an honorable but down-on-his luck truck driver on a lonely Utah highway. His life takes a sudden turn into violence, mystery and longing upon finding a beautiful woman playing a cello in an isolated house in the high desert.

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