By Paul Crehan
Amazon Digital Services, $6.99, 285 pages
Alpine Valley is a small town in the Pacific Northwest that is deep in debt. Its mayor, Annie LaPeer, has no idea how to save the city from dying other than by raising taxes, although she and other members of the city council understand it wouldn’t help since they have to gather a huge amount of money. One of the members has another, more original and pretty brilliant idea. He suggests reviving an old local legend to bring tourists to the city. No one in the town is sure if it would work, but the idea is exciting and everyone (except Annie) agrees to participate in this “play.” The townspeople enjoy it, each one contributing according to his skills. A massive wave of tourists hits the city and the local businesses start to thrive, but suddenly this fraud, funny at first, leads to some tragic events involving Annie’s teenage children, Melissa and Peter.
“…every place has a bit of magic and mystery to it. Even a tiny place like Alpine Valley.”
Although you’ll know from the beginning that the story has a happy ending, the feelings of compassion for the people and animals involved will frequently run over in your mind. While meeting an unseen ethical and moral challenge the Alpine Valley’s citizens deal with the unexpected in a unique way that resolves many personal problems and also saves their city. The narrator’s slightly ironic voice is appealing and completely appropriate in this fable. Crehan’s tale is fun to follow and since the author is a TV writer and producer, it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest an engaging movie based on this novel might not be far behind.
Reviewed by Galina Roizman