Books by Charles Butler

TIMON’S TIDE by Charles Butler
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 1, 2000

Confusion reigns in this quasi-supernatural tale of drugs, death, and despair. Still grieving the loss of his older brother, Daniel blames himself for Timon's killing. Was his failure to carry out a drug drop the cause of the murder? Living in a newly blended family, Daniel struggles to find his place in a dysfunctional household consisting of an aging and senile aunt, an embittered mother, a frustrated stepsister, and a friendly but distant stepfather. Longing to overcome the stigma of living forever in Timon's shadow, Daniel grapples with his attraction to Jane and his need to fit in with his new family. Suddenly, Timon, or what passes for Timon, reappears and along with him a multitude of questions about what really happened on the night of his "death." Butler (The Darkling, 1998) creates a compelling portrait of evil in the character of Timon, a boy whose self-centeredness is almost sociopathic in its intensity. But the suspense that makes the early part of the story so intriguing loses momentum as it proceeds. The sheer number of characters, each unappealing in some way, overwhelms the reader. And the conversations between Daniel and Timon are not credible, never addressing any of Daniel's real questions. English phrases and expressions are apt to seem stilted and confusing to American readers. Worst of all, Butler tries to incorporate too many subplots (Lisa's pregnancy, Ruby's affair with Lisa's first husband, Max's drinking, and Aunt Jenkin's psychological decline), most of which are inadequately addressed, leaving the reader frustrated and puzzled. All in all, this is an oddly disquieting mixture of the mundane and the supernatural that never quite rings true. (Fiction. 12-16)Read full book review >
THE DARKLING by Charles Butler
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 1998

Butler creates a likable heroine and fine, atmospheric prose to draw readers along, but it's not enough to sustain the faulty plotting of this mystery. While on her paper route, Petra, 15, delivers a package to eccentric Edmund Century, who is about to turn 102. He forms a strange bond with Petra, and endows her with three odd gifts—the significance of which the reader never finds out—before he shortly thereafter dies. The secret of his attachment to her slowly and mysteriously unravels through a silhouette on her bedroom wall that Petra had nicknamed "the Darkling" when she was a child. This formerly harmless shadow takes on the spirit of Edmund Century and seeks out his long, lost love whose spirit resides in Petra. Add a spiritually possessed father, a sick brother, a disappearing housekeeper, and the father's child-molesting boss, and the plot thickens—to an outright muddle. The mystery never comes together: Resolutions remain elusive, except for those explanations with a basis in some confusing real-estate dealings; the storyline of the dead characters is a wedged-in afterthought. (Fiction. 12-14) Read full book review >