Messages From Henry by Rebecca Scarberry

It's no secret that the ways in which readers consume books has changed drastically in the last few years. The introduction of e-readers has allowed people to purchase, store, and read books in new and exciting ways. This technology has also changed the way in which authors publish and connect with their readers. More specifically e-books allow independent authors, those who are not affiliated with one of the main publishing houses, to produce and share stories that might otherwise never have been available. Rebecca Scarberry is one such author. She has published several works in varying genres and has helped to promote other indie authors through her large following on social networks. When she reached out to me about reading and reviewing one of her works, I was happy to oblige.

Tammy and Evelyn are widows whose life-long friendship has blossomed even more in the years following their husbands' deaths. Evelyn and her husband made a comfortable living raising homing pigeons. The birds are trained to return to their home after they are released. Tammy has helped her friend to care for the animals and has grown fond of them in the process. Although Evelyn cares deeply for each of her creatures, she has a unique connection to one of the birds named Henry. All of the pigeons are confined to their hutch, but Henry is allowed to roam freely as he keeps his human companion company.

One day, as she walks onto her front porch, Tammy finds Henry perched on her banister. Tied to the foot of the bird is a note with the startling message, "Help, kidnapper is going to kill me, Evelyn." After an unanswered phone call to Evelyn's house, Tammy dials the number of Sheriff Warren Kincaid and relays the troubling news. An investigation of Evelyn's home confirms Tammy's worst fears. Someone has kidnapped her best friend and Henry, the loyal homing pigeon, may be their only hope to find her.

The idea of having a pigeon be the only tangible contact between victim and investigators is a highly original take on this genre. As investigators continue to receive correspondence from Evelyn, a rapid chase of cat and mouse ensues. The novella focusses on Tammy and her commitment to locating her friend. Scarberry avoids the common pitfalls of indie works by presenting a well edited and easy to read story.

In this case, the narrative does not truly live up to the promise of its unique concept. Messages From Henry is advertised as a novella for young adults, but it struggles to own this identity. With main characters who are elderly women and with content that explores more adult ideas, younger readers may find it difficult to connect with the story. The action soon stalls in a tedious repetition of Tammy receiving messages from Evelyn, relaying them to the authorities, and waiting to hear about their investigation. Because Tammy is merely an observer of the case, readers remain on the sideline for the majority of the action. By solely focussing on Tammy's perspective, the book lacks the depth it could have achieved with accounts of Evelyn's captivity. Messages From Henry is a very short work that would benefit greatly from being fleshed out into a larger story. Rebecca Scarberry demonstrates a natural ability for placing characters into original situations that will only continue to flourish as her writing progresses.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.

(2015, 27)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 and is filed under ,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

One Response to “Messages From Henry by Rebecca Scarberry”

  1. Great review, Ethan. I like how you really did think about why this book may or may not be suited to the audience, and took everything into account. Like you, I do try to read some indie authors as well because I find it important to get the word out about their books as well. This read sounds good, but like you mentioned it might be a more adult read than young adult.


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