Print Reviews
Signs of Life

Signs of Life

by Creston Mapes

Creston Mapes, Inc.

Creston Mapes stresses me out, man. He always does. But ever since being first quarantined by his 2006 roller coaster thrill ride, Full Tilt, I’ve continued coming back, like a bona fide glutton, craving more of his signature-style punishment. Thank you sir. May I have another?

It’s been five years since Mapes last graced the “New Release” rack down at the local bookstore with the suspense-filled, Sky Zone. Fortunately, for drooling fans such as myself, he’s returned in 2019 with Signs of Life. FYI, you better pack a lunch. Once you enter Mapes’ world, you ain’t going anywhere. Not for a while, anyway.

With his thumb placed firmly on the pulse of today’s culture, Mapes’ fictional story could have been ripped straight from recent headlines – another crazed, video game-addicted teenage nutcase goes on a shooting rampage. His parents are horrified. The community – outraged. But a dumbass like Rogan Sneed couldn’t possibly have planned and pulled off this diabolical deed on his own – could he? It’s up to Portland PD detective Wayne Deetz to unravel the convoluted case.

Clutching the same fine-tipped Sharpee he’s used consistently in the past to draw vivid portraits of compelling characters, Mapes once again makes us care about his current cast. We may not like them all, but he succeeds in making us care about them. Not only gunman, Sneed, but also Darren Rosco, the big, gruff Portland PD captain with bad teeth, a bad beard, a bad haircut and bad breath.

The Signs of Life narrative darts back and forth between Deetz’s frustrating investigation and the conflicted story of Tyson Cooper – a grief-stricken, vengeful, 40-year-old school teacher who lost his wife during the Pioneer Square tragedy of May 7, 2018. However, the jumpy timeline doesn’t disrupt the flow. In fact, it kept me on my toes. Engaged fully throughout.

A master storyteller, Mapes remains true to his celebrated brand – weaving a heartfelt message of faith into his heart-stopping tale.

Popping off rapid-fire “gotchas” from start to finish, Creston Mapes possesses precision marksmanship – paralyzing readers with each page of Signs of Life. But for his ever-fervent faithful followers (myself included), the five-year gap between books has seemed like an eternity. Was it worth the wait? You betcha!

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