By: Keith Thye
Published by: Classic Day Publishing
Publication Date: December 22, 2021
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: February 21, 2022
I want to begin with the fact that I love books where one of the characters is a canine. I have no idea why; I just do. So, I will say that Zeke (who just happens to be Ron’s dog) is one of my favorite characters! My own dog, Sinatra, is a crooner who definitely needs to star in his own tale really soon. But don’t let the beginning of this review fool you; this is a story set firmly in the genre of suspense. The thrills, the chills, the mystery – all of it is here – and the author has done an excellent job piecing the plotline together. Enough so that I guarantee the reader will not be able to put it down once they begin.
Taking us back to the 1950s, we’re placed in the setting of a small town where kids are riding their bikes; there’s no ‘darkness’ or ‘creepiness’ in their world; homes are happy; parents are loving; and, basically, all is right with the world. The small town we’re transported to is Oswego. It is here that three teens named Randy, Ron and Cindi come together.
Each of the kids have their own quirks. Randy Kenney is a typical young boy who liked his home in the San Francisco Bay Area. He gets in trouble at times, when he does silly things with his friends, but for the most part he’s a good kid. The only problem he has comes in the honesty department. In fact, while doing a dumb experiment one day, he ends up harming Tabby, the family cat and his brother’s pet, and he becomes abysmally sad. His brother grieves, their relationship gets strained, and Randy has to learn a valuable life lesson about lying. Hopefully, he won’t ever do it again. It is in 1953, when Randy turns ten, that his father is transferred to Portland, Oregon and the family ends up purchasing a cabin in need of renovations on the lake in small-town Oswego.
Living in a rental not far from the cabin while it’s being fixed up, Randy meets Ron and his big, black Labrador Retriever, Zeke. After leaving Portland when Ron was four, he and his family took up residence in the lake area of Oswego, and he and Randy soon become close friends. They swim, play on the dock that Ron’s dad builds for his really cool boat, and talk about how they’ll be entering fifth grade together when school starts up again. It’s when the boys enter seventh grade, however, and turn thirteen that they meet up with a new student who has just moved to Oswego from Colorado named Cindi.
As plots move in various directions, the trio (plus Zeke) end up spending a lot of time together. One summer night they actually camp out in the backyard only to be revived by the precious Lab who goes crazy licking their faces at two-thirty in the morning. Turns out, something has gotten Zeke excited. When the gang hears voices coming from the lake, they investigate, and spot two couples who are skinny-dipping. Embarrassing? A little. But the sun rises the next day and life goes on.
After only forty-eight hours, however, the local newspaper announces to the residents of the town that a woman’s dead (and naked) body was discovered in the lake. And when no clues are found, and no one appears at the police station to file a missing person’s report, the future changes for the three teens, knowing they may just be the last ones to have seen this woman before her untimely demise. Was she one of the women skinny-dipping that night? Did she drown...or did someone make sure to drown her? Randy, Ron and Cindi won’t stop until they help bring the truth to light, and soon their once calm and quiet world turns upside-down.
The author has done a brilliant job drawing readers into this tale by providing a perfect locale, great characters with interesting backstories, and a dog that everyone would just love to have in their own backyard. Very visual, the reader can close their eyes and literally see and feel Oswego because the details are that good! It even made me miss my small hometown…except for the snow. “5 Stars!”
Quill says: Randy & Ron & Cindi & Zeke is a great thriller you don’t want to miss, that would look positively stunning on a movie screen.
For more information on Randy & Ron & Cindi & Zeke, please visit the author's website at: keiththye.com/