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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Titanic 2012 by Bill Walker (Book Review and Excerpt))



Title: Titanic 2012
Author: Bill Walker
Publisher: Bill Walker Designs


About the book: Best selling mystery novelist Trevor Hughes has no idea that attending his twentieth reunion at Harvard will forever change his life.


 Persuaded to go by his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Dr. Julia Magnusson, he meets up with three old friends: Solly Rubens, a self-made Wall Street millionaire; Ken Faust, a successful software entrepreneur; and Harlan Astor, New York real estate tycoon and the glue that holds their circle together. 


 That afternoon, over drinks at the Harvard Club, Harlan drops his bombshell: He is doing what James Cameron did not he is rebuilding the Titanic, and sailing the ship on the hundredth anniversary to honor those who died, including his great-grandfather, John Jacob Astor IV. Only Trevor is intrigued by Harlan's audacity. Touched by his friend's interest and concern, Harlan invites him on the maiden voyage to serve as the official chronicler. 


 On April 10, 2012, Trevor journeys to Southampton and, along with the hundreds of handpicked passengers, boards the Titanic. He is overawed by the immensity of the ship and the feelings that well up in him. His friend has made his grand dream a reality. 


 During the journey, armed with his DVD recorder, Harlan interviews both passengers and crew, eager to learn the reasons why they chose to sail on the reborn ship.


 Nearly every one of them claims to have been profoundly affected by Cameron's film, wanting to recapture the magic for themselves. And some of them are dying their last wish to be on the maiden voyage of the new Titanic. 


 Trevor is touched that his friend has allowed these people to come aboard, and is unprepared when he meets Madeleine Regehr, a beautiful, free-spirited woman who resists his entreaties to be interviewed, intriguing Trevor all the more. Slowly, and inexorably, Maddy draws him out of his shell, allowing him to love deeply and completely, for the very first time in his life. 


 But Trevor soon discovers a darker purpose for the voyage, a purpose that threatens to destroy him and the woman he loves. 


 In a race against time that pits friend against friend, Trevor must stop the unstoppable or risk a horrific replay of history.... --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


My thoughts: I could not tell you how many times that I have personally seen the movie, Titanic, but I have to tune in every time that I see it is on TV.  It does not matter at what point it is at in the movie, it is just a must watch for me.  So this book was an easy choice for me to read.

The beginning sets the scene that something has already happened aboard the Titanic, and Trevor must decide how or even if he wants to tell the story -- from there we kind of lapse back to the actual voyage.  Having seen the movie so many times, it was very cool to be able to imagine all the places that Trevor went to on the ship. To imagine what it would be like to see them in person, from the bow to the cargo holds. He explores them all -- except for the room behind the guarded and locked door.  He can't imagine what Harlan has locked up on the ship.

So he begins his interviews of the passengers -- meeting Maddy, a particularly engaging young woman to whom he is instantly attracted.  Underneath it all though he is uneasy, it seems like there is something out of place, but he just can't seem to put his finger on it.  He is a very curious one though, as I am guessing most writers are, and will not rest until he figures out what it is that is making him a little uneasy.

I really enjoyed Trevor's character and felt like he is someone that you could easily meet in your own neighborhood.  He was very down to earth -- not pretentious or uptight -- and always seemed to want to do the right thing.  He was also very much a Titanic fan and it wasn't hard for him to be swept up in the romanticism aboard the ship.

We don't get to know the other passengers as well as we know Trevor, as the book is from his point of view, but we do get some glimpses of them from their interviews.  It almost seemed like there wasn't enough material to fill the book, as there were some large chunks of time that Trevor slept through -- I found that a little odd, even though it did play into the story -- just didn't seem like it was flushed out like it could have been.

I did enjoy the book though and it makes me want to go back and watch the movie yet again.

~I received a complimentary ebook of Titanic 2012 from Partners in Crime Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~





About the author:  A graduate of Emerson College's prestigious film school, Bill wrote and directed his first feature film, Pawn, while still a student. After graduation, he co-founded Newbury Filmworks, Inc., an award-winning production company renowned for making high-quality corporate films and commercials. 

In 1990, Bill relocated to Los Angeles, and began a freelance story analysis career for various studios and independent production companies, while devoting his spare time to the writing of novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is also a highly-respected graphic designer, specializing in book and dust jacket design. He has worked on books by such luminaries as: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. In addition, Bill is a member of the Authors Guild. 

He has won awards for his screenwriting, his two short story collections for Mid-Graders, Five-Minute Frights and Five-Minute Chillers, are perennial Halloween favorites, and his first novel, Titanic 2012 was enthusiastically received by readers. His second novel, Camp Stalag was released in 2001. Bill lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Debbie, and their sons, Jeffrey and Brian.

You can find Mr Walker on the web at Bill Walker Novels and on Facebook.


Please enjoy this excerpt from Chapter One:

Chapter One

 The furor in the media had just died down when Solly’s call came that rainy midweek day. I’d been hiding from the wolves of the fourth estate for nearly three weeks, holed up in my book-filled condo/prison in Charlestown, unable even to slip outside for a breath of fresh air without some cookie-cutter reporter, with a paint-by-numbers smile, sticking a microphone in my face and asking me the same tired question: "What was it like?"
As if the whole of my experience could be quantified in a sound bite. Truth was I was avoiding everyone, even Julia and her earnest attempts to help me sort through the miasma of doubt and pain.
Sweet Julia.
We’ve been on-and-off again for the last five years. And I hadn’t seen her for the better part of a year. I¬¬ guess she thought now was as good a time as any to mend fences. Christ, if she only knew....
And what was worse, the book I’d promised my publisher, the one that was supposed to chronicle all I’d been through, lay like a beached whale on the shore of my imagination. I was standing at the bay window overlooking the harbor, watching the rain sluice down the glass, wondering if I would ever have the courage to write again, when my gaze shifted to the pile of DVDs lying in a scattered heap on the teakwood coffee table.
My eyes filled with tears yet again.
"I’m so sorry, Maddy," I groaned, knocking my forehead against the cool glass. "I’m so goddamned sorry."
"You have a call," the computer intoned in a quiet contralto, making me wince. Even the goddamned computer’s voice reminded me of Madeleine. "Who is it?" I asked, expecting to hear it was yet another call from the Globe. Hometown reporters were the worst, the most ravenous.
And then I remembered I’d instructed the computer to screen all calls, allowing access to only a select few. "The caller has an Identity Block in place. Shall I take a message?"
I sighed.
To hell with it. I had to rejoin the human race at some point, even if I felt as if I no longer belonged in it. "Put it through," I said, making my way over to the sleek MacBook Pro sitting atop my writing desk. The screen came to life and Solly Rubens’ round face filled the screen. His saturnine looks were etched with concern, an expression that somehow looked ominous on him.
"Hey, Hughes, you okay? How are you holding up?"
The tiny "picture-in-picture" in the upper left-hand corner of the screen showed me what Solly was seeing, rendering his question moot.
I looked as if I’d taken the cook’s tour of Hell: blue eyes¬¬--red-rimmed and puffy--surrounded by dark circles, sandy hair greasy and disheveled, three-day growth of a patchy red-flecked beard, and the same clothes I’d worn since Monday. I looked sixty-two, instead of forty-two. All in all, I presented a picture about as far as one could get from what Boston magazine had called: "The World’s Most Eligible Author."
"How the hell do you think I’m holding up?" I said, staring back at Solly. His eyes blinked rapidly and I debated whether or not to instruct the MAC to disconnect, when he spoke again.
"Aw, man, I’m sorry. I really put my foot in it, didn’t I?" he said, trying to appear contrite. "Listen, I know we’ve never been the best of pals, but we had some good times back in school, didn’t we? I mean, Christ, we’ve been through a hell of a lot since Harvard. You a hotshot writer. Me hittin’ the big time. I still can’t believe it’s been a year--"
"What do you want, Solly?"
His porcine eyes darted somewhere off-screen, then riveted onto mine. "Ken and I thought you should get out of the house, maybe meet us at the Harvard Club. What do you say?"
"I don’t want to talk about it."
"You gotta talk about it sometime," he said, his Brooklyn tenor rising in pitch. "You’ve been avoiding us for weeks, you look like crap, and everybody--and I mean everybody’s--been trying to find out what the hell happened out there. And what about Julia? You shutting her out? You treatin’ her like dirt, too?"
I resented him bringing her name up, only because I knew he was using her as leverage, and not out of any real concern for her feelings.
Not that I was any better.
"She’s none of your business, Solly. Leave her out of this."
"All right, I’m sorry. But you know I’m right. You gotta get on with your life, for Christ’s sake. If you’re not gonna do it for yourself, do it for Harlan."
I leaned forward, my nose practically touching the screen. "Where were you when Harlan needed the three of us? Huh? Where the hell were you when the chips were down? Taking Karen to another Broadway show?" Solly’s lips compressed into a thin angry line. "Okay, I deserved that. But Ken and I have a right to know what happened."
So, that was it. Like everyone else, they wanted to know the truth about Harlan’s death--wanted to know all the gory details. Christ, they were no better than the goddamned muckrakers slinking around my front door. And why was it so important to Ken and Solly, anyway?
Would it bring Harlan back? Would it bring any of them back? Why the hell couldn’t they just leave me alone?
And then, all at once, the anger passed, as if someone had thrown a switch inside me. Suddenly, I wanted very badly to tell someone--anyone. And perhaps it was more than fitting to do it where it all began.
"All right," I said. "I’ll meet you guys at the club, Friday night at six." Solly cracked a grin, revealing crooked yellow teeth. "It’ll do you good, Hughes, you’ll see."
"Maybe.... But drinks and dinner are on you."
He chuckled.
"My pleasure. See you there."
The screen went dark, and I sat there for a long moment, wondering if I shouldn’t blow them off. And then I realized Harlan would want me to go. I doubted very much, however, once they heard the whole story, it would be any pleasure for any of us....



Titanic 2012
Publisher/Publication Date: Bill Walker Designs, Jan 2012
ISBN: 978-0615592398
288 pages

2 comments:

CMash said...

Thank you for your honest review. Good post!!

Jenn and The Cats of Castle Coull said...

This book is on my wish list. I am a huge Titanic buff.

Hope you are enjoying the RAT. I never get as much reading done as I want to!

Team Polonius

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