This is a terrific novel, covering several different aspects, including Bigfoot, baseball, land development and a new species of snake. We meet Sam Ward, a middle school science teacher who might well be patterned after Powell himself, who has some unusual occurrences happen to him around his home, which has a fully functional baseball diamond on the property. We meet his family, including his son Jack, who is sort of an amateur herpetologist (one who studies snakes) who makes an interesting discovery at a place called Squaw Meadow, which is up for land development into a resort by Barton Foster III, a former neighbor of Sam and his family. In the meantime, Sam has a local Bigfoot researcher, Nick Rollo, come to help him out with the scientific method in his class. Baseball is one thing that brings Sam and Jack closer together as father and son, and they enjoy playing, even if their team does not always win. As the story progresses, it becomes clear just who the "shady neighbors" really are, and it's not who one expects. This is a terrifically crafted story, and one worthy of a read whether on a warm Summer's evening or in front of a roaring fire in Fall or Winter. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
August 18, 2011
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)Thom Powell wrote a great novel involving bigfoot. I have already read his book, "The Locals," and I can see information from this book and other people's research used as background for this new novel. Even if a reader isn't familiar with the bigfoot phenomena, they will know a lot by the time they finish reading "Shady Neighbors." I thought it was well written and suspenseful. There were a few typos that the publisher should fix before any reprinting. I had to withhold one star from the rating because of the amount of bad language in the book, most of it in conversations between the characters. If this book is meant for children to read, I would encourage parental discretion for anyone younger than high school age. I think the story would still be just as interesting, and less offensive to some people, if the language were milder. Thom Powell has a lot of intelligence on this topic, but I hate to see him not being careful to use language suitable for all ages. Overall, I still recommend this book.
August 1, 2011
This book was awesome,sat down and read it cover to cover! Now I'm rereading it a little more slowly to catch any little nuance I might have missed.Excellent book,makes me wanna go to squaw meadow and poke around! I highly recommend this book,you'll love it!
Thom Powell Does It Again-A Great Read!,
May 17, 2011
Thom Powell's new fiction book "Shady Neighbors" is an enjoyable tale of a family that lives in rural Oregon and their experiences with a mysterious and unseen set of neighbors in the surrounding woods. The book starts out with the story of middle school science teacher Sam Ward and his son Jack and their involvment with a community little league baseball team. Though the father/son relationship and their love of sports is a central theme, what evolves is the immersion of those two characters into a phenomena long shrouded in the mists of the vast wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, Sasquatch!
As the story unfolds we see that Sam's son, Jack, has a love for, and knack for finding and studying, snakes. Jack spies a very unusual snake in a high mountain lake and is enthralled by the fact that he simply cannot identify it. Paralleling this story line is the sasquatch mystery that reveals itself in some subtle and not so subtle ways to Jack. While Sam is a science teacher and something of a skeptic, he also soon realizes that Jack's experiences may be far more than a series of strange coincidences and may, in fact, point to the very real potential that there is an unknown and unclassified type of hominid in the mountains surrounding their home. In many respects, I feel that Jack, as a child and perhaps having a but more of an open mind, seems to accept his experiences at face value Sam needs some more convincing and finds it through a series of interactions with one of his students and a local investigator of the bigfoot/sasquatch mystery, Nick Rollo.
Sam soon comes to the realization that there is, indeed, quite a large amount of rather convincing evidence that the "sasquatch myth" may be a reality. Moreover, mainstream science has for all intents and purposes not even dismissed it but refuses to even acknowledge it. This comes to a climax when Sam and Jack find that the strange snake that Jack has been searching for information on is a species previously thought not to exist in Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range. With Jack's discovery of this new species of snake, Sam begins to confront the fact that snakes might not be the only thing that is thought by mainstream science not to exist but is actually a lot closer than any of us of a "conventional" mind set think.
What I really enjoyed the most about this book is that it builds on Thom's own personal experiences as a middle school science teacher and sasquatch researcher. Thom's excellent 2003 book "The Locals" is, in my opinion, perhaps THE BEST sasquatch book out there and "Shady Neighbors" takes that one step further. In this fictional account, the author is able to express far more of his personal experiences more freely than through a non-fiction story angle. Having read quite a big of literature on bigfoor/sasquatch by the legends John Green, Rene Dahinden, and others I can honestly recommend that if anyone was to buy only two books on the subject both "The Locals" and "Shady Neighbors" would be my recommendation. This would be a great summer read for sitting by the pool, camping under the stars or spending a quiet evening indoors with a great book. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors, sasquatch, unsolved mysteries, the Pacific Northwest, and a wholesome family based story would be pleased to read this book. The only area that I would be critical of regarding the book is that there are a few typographical, spelling, and editing errors but none of them detract from the story in any way. All in all this is a unique and great book, it should be by your bedside, favorite chair, or on your bookshelf!
Enjoyable and educational...,
May 17, 2011
Thom has crafted a very enjoyable story that also serves as a teaching tool regarding the search for the hidden forest giants known as Sasquatch/Bigfoot. For readers who are novices to the subject, he interweaves the basic fundamentals of the culmination of current Bigfoot Research and evidence into the engaging dialogue of his characters and story line.Treading briefly into what some might consider controversial and speculative territory as well, Thom continues exploring those areas that his pioneering efforts first touched in his excellent non-fiction book: "The Locals: A Contemporary Investigation of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch Phenomenon". The book doesn't dwell on these possibilities but raises awareness of them and suggests to the reader that there may be more than merely meets the eye to these incredibly covert beings.
Thom also explores the vast Native American history and long time recognition of the Sasquatch as a real being; a fact that isn't as well known to the mainstream public, yet greatly supports the concept of Sasquatch as fact... not fiction.
The book even delves into some of the possible ramifications of discovery and proof of Bigfoot and what that might mean for them and even US in terms of ecological issues, land conservation, community financial side effects, and interpersonal relationships and politics, both with family, friends and co-workers.
Thom has penned a tale that I think benefits both the Bigfoot novice and seasoned field researcher. It's an excellent teaching tool for those first exploring the subject, and it may open the eyes of some veterans to the field and make them consider some possibilities they never did, or were willing to, prior to now.
There is more that is touched upon throughout the story but I leave that to you to discover.
April 6, 2011
What a great story. Makes me want to visit all the areas mentioned in the book. I hope this is just the beginning of more adventures by Thom Powell
March 27, 2011
I am not the "book reviewer" type. I believe that all books have merit and it's up to each individual to invest their own time to decide what is "good" and what isn't. I loved this book. I could not put it down. I became invested in what was happening with Sam and his family, the local community and with the "Shady Neighbors". Mr. Powell's writing style immerses the reader (at least this reader) into the world of Redland, OR. His descriptive style made it easy to visualize the Ward's residence, Squaw Meadow, the local baseball diamond and even the collage summer interns in such a way that I wanted to be in this place. I won't give away the story line, but suffice it to say that many elements of a fun read are here: Suspense, Mystery, Love, Suspicion and even a dog named Elvis. My only regret of this book is that it ended to soon. Maybe in a couple years Mr. Powell can enlighten us on further adventures of the Ward family and their "Shady Neighbors".