Interviews and Reviews
Reckoning by Rusty Barnes,
Review by Katie Moore
What Went Down by The Foals, Review by RL Young

Katie Moore Reviews Reckoning, by Rusty Barnes

Reckoning Cover Art
Soon after you crack open Reckoning, a novel by the incomparable Rusty Barnes, you will happen upon the Dedication. He mentions the people who wrote with him on his private discussion board, where he finished the initial draft of this powerful book. I was lucky enough to be among those writers, reading as Rusty brought these characters and this story to life, one impatiently anticipated installment at a time. So, I already had an idea of what to expect when I began to read Reckoning as a real book with a lovely cover and that intoxicating new book smell. I was never, not for one single page, disappointed.

This is not a graphic book, not full of gratuitous stimulation, not flashy. Reckoning begins with a feeling of timelessness, partially owed to the Appalachian setting. It takes a bit longer for the dirty bad world to make the trek up mountains and down valleys, but this book proves that real life evil can and does reach everywhere.

The primary characters in Rusty's stellar novel are teenagers Richard and Katie, two kids facing way more than they should have to while relying on nothing more magical than luck and quick wit to see them through. Though they meet in the first pages of the book, their chemistry is palpable and exciting. What are they up against? Lyle, a truly bad man, and the mystery of what's happening in his shed. It's bad and they know it, but how bad isn't something they see coming and neither will you. Of course they don't seek adult help in time to prevent some really terrible things from happening, but thus is the way of the fictional kid. It wasn't always easy to read on while these two truly likeable characters got in more and more trouble while trying to pull themselves out of it and somehow make things right. Not easy, but intensely and terrifyingly real.

I often found myself being legitimately concerned for Richard and Katie, especially because Lyle is a really scary villain. He is the kind of bad that mothers warn their kids about, the kind of bad man who doesn't hesitate to hurt a child for his own varied and twisted purposes.

Even the secondary characters in Reckoning are given life in a way that makes each of them feel real, complex, and essential to the story of a community that might have an idea that it's in trouble, but has no clue how much. Some of Rusty's characters are present for no more than a few pages, yet each of them has taken up residence in my mind.

As you approach the end of the book you will want to put it down, because you'll be genuinely worried about the fate of Richard and Katie. Maybe you'll feel like you just can't take it if something else happens to them...

Do not give up. If Richard and Katie can keep going until the end, so can you. So should you, otherwise some part of you will always be wondering what happened. Rusty gives us a hell of an ending, and it's worth it.

Of course, satisfied though I was by the end of the book, I can't help but want to keep following these two as they continue facing adulthood and the real worl as bravely and recklessly as real kids do.

This is a book I can recommend, without hesitation, to anyone old enough to handle themes of crime, sex, porn, drugs, and violence. You'll be glad you read it.

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R.L. Young Reviews What Went Down, new album from the Foals.

The Foals What Went Down
After listening to 'What Went Down' by the Foals I must say that I loved the driving guitar and these mad sort of jam band grooves are pulsating from the speakers. I think that the song 'Mountain at my Gates' speaks to me the most of the album, I've tried to wear out that track but I can't. These soulfully crooning vocals that reach right in and grabs you. There seems to be a pace to the songs that made me feel like I was going through a breakup, and I mean that in the best way possible. The experimental nature of some of the songs speaks of the willingness of the bands to try new things and branch out in different ways. The feelings evoked by the lyrics in some of these songs is phenomenal, lyrically it's one hell of a ride groove wise. The way they blend everything together so well is sort of magical. I recommend this to anyone who desires good grooves with a bite.

The beat is fire,

great energy,
feel good jams
and driving beats.

R.L. Young, Sometimes I Listen To Music

I want a .45 with 'Mountain at my Gates' and 'What Went Down'.

Yannis Philippakis stated:

The recorded version is the first one we ever played. I re-recorded the vocals but the rest of it is raw. It’s one of those moments you can have if you’re lucky in the studio where things seem to materialize fully-formed. We wanted it to feel like the moment when a predatory animal goes in for the kill: there’s a savagery to it.

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