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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Pacific Between -- Review

The Pacific Between
By Raymond K. Wong
Behler Publications
January 2006
234 pp.
ISBN 1-933016-32-9
Amazon.com price: $10.17
Highly recommended.

Raymond K. Wong’s debut novel, The Pacific Between chronicles an Asian-American man’s attempt to discover himself and the world around him.

The ups, downs, twists and turns of a two-minute roller coaster ride are nothing compared to the gamut of emotions Wong’s characters experience in his compelling novel.

The opening line “Betrayal makes us do strange things,” leads you head on into a boiling pot of love, death, betrayal and deception.

When entrepreneur Greg Lockland arrives in California to attend his parents’ funeral, his world begins to unravel. Pictures of a brother he barely remembers and letters discovered hidden in his father’s safe deposit box suggest an illicit affair between his late father and Greg’s ex-lover Lian Wan.

Confused and angry, Greg visits Kate Walken, a young woman with whom his relationship has taken an unexpected, romantic turn. Greg hates secrets and the hurt they cause. Yet, he tells Kate only of the pictures he found. Greg battles with his mixed emotions and can’t bring himself to tell her about Lian. Does he still love Lian? Does he love Kate? Can he love Kate?

Greg is like a boy who never grew up. He’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. Though he can be affectionate, he can be obnoxious, deceiving and secretive–all the things he loathes.

Seething anger, growing suspicion, and inescapable jealousy accompany Greg on a transpacific journey to Hong Kong in search of Lian and the truth about the affair.

Greg has no idea he’s about to unlock a secret that has been kept closeted for years. One after another, people return from his past, each adding another roadblock to Greg’s mysterious puzzle. With each piece of information, Greg is forced to re-examine his beliefs, feelings, and relationships with old friends and family.

Among those who help Greg is Agnes, the Director of Nursing where his father had worked. She is a bossy, mannish, British nurse whom Greg never liked. During his relentless search to uncover the truth, Greg is surprised to find Agnes with his happy-go-lucky friend Old Chow and realizes Agnes has a passionate side. Agnes and Old Chow prod Greg to explore his feelings and their secret plans push him into another situation of doubt.

There is more to Wong’s astonishing novel The Pacific Between than a gripping plot. Each chapter opens a part of Greg’s life. The witty dialogue is smooth and believable and portrays the dynamic and fascinating characters, keeping them and the reader in suspense and a whirlwind of emotions.

Greg’s elusive and perfect ex-love Lian adds to his anger, jealousy, and confusion when she avoids him and refuses to discuss the letters. Just when Greg thinks he has all the answers he uncovers more questions and finds more deep-rooted deception.

Wong’s story reaches into the heart, mind, and soul of readers with a robust Asian voice. His story melds two cultures so eloquently that he has you walking beside his characters and places you in the center of Hong Kong’s beautiful culture and picturesque landscape.

Those who aren’t familiar with Hong Kong will dream of visiting, and those familiar will see their surroundings in a new light after Wong writes,

The ferry sounds its long horn, edging its way toward
the island. Piers, docks and row houses pack tightly together in a stretch along the shore. Twirls of smoke ascend from a temple at the far end of the village. On the near side of the island, the rocky hills give rise to a green plateau on which tiers of red-roof condominiums and houses spread out like icing on a cake. (74)

The Pacific Between is more than a story of love, death and betrayal. It’s a superb tale of deception, relationships, sacrifices and unconditional love. It is filled with nostalgia, wit, humor, and triumph. This book is not a casual read. The plot leaves the reader waiting to turn the pages. It’s unpredictable to the end.

Wong will leave you laughing one minute and crying the next, and in between, awestruck by dead-ends that lead to a satisfying finish.

The Pacific Between is a book readers will want to place on their bookshelves to be read over and over again.


Joanne Kiggins has published more than 2,500 articles. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer’s Digest, Absolute Write, and Moondance.

An excerpt from the mystery suspense novel she is currently writing, Unearthed, placed her in the top ten finalists of the Absolute Write Idol contest. Her co-authored romance novel Unforgettable Journey placed fifth in the Grand Beginnings romance contest in March 2005. Her essay,"Perseverance," is published in the Absolute Write Stories of Strength anthology written in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, for which 100% of the profits will be donated to various disaster relief charities.

Part of the review was posted on Behler Publications site.

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Blogger Dawno said...

Great review for an equally wonderful book.

12/29/2005 12:30 AM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks, Dawno. You wrote a wonderful review as well. This book is worth spreading the word about. :)

12/29/2005 9:18 AM  
Blogger paintbrushpoet said...

Beautiful! I can't wait to read it! Paint

12/30/2005 11:08 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Looks like a good book, Joanne :)

12/30/2005 7:47 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks for reading, Paint. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

12/30/2005 8:37 PM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Hi Jeff. It is a good book. Hey I love your avatar. I have a thing for inkwells and feathers--I collect both.

12/30/2005 8:40 PM