Hampton Road

A Psychological Thriller for Young Adults

Fiction - Mystery - General
221 Pages
Reviewed on 05/12/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

To date, Michael has written four novels. His first, Hampton Road, is a psychological thriller for young adults. His second, In Deep, and his third, Cupiditas, are political thrillers. Evil's Root is a compilation of In Deep and Cupiditas. His latest novel, EMMA: Emergent Movement of Militant Anarchists, is a crime/tech thriller.

Apart from writing novels, Michael has also published three non-fiction works: A Critical Look at John Gardner's Grendel; Teaching Literature and Writing in the Secondary Classroom; and Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson with Introduction, Notes, and Lessons by Michael Segedy. He has also published numerous academic articles about literature and writing.

Gwendolyn Brooks, former poet laureate of Illinois, presented him with Virginia English Bulletin's first place writing award.
Most of his adult life, Michael has lived overseas. He has spent over two decades living in Peru, Morocco, Israel, and Taiwan.

He and his family currently live in Lima, Peru, and with his family's support and encouragement, he hopes to start work on his next novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Hampton Road is a psychological thriller written by Michael Segedy. When we first meet Billy, he's in some sort of institution and being given medication by an orderly. Billy's not sure why he's there and hates the medicine which makes him tired and mentally confused. He has lost track of time but knows he should be getting ready for his next race. Billy's a motorcycle racer and just got his expert card. He has big dreams, but suddenly they're all put on hold while he's in this place. Every day, Billy goes in to speak with Dr. Phillips, a fat man with thick glasses and rather spooky little eyes, who sits in his swivel chair with his back to the window. Billy sits in a hard plastic chair opposite the doctor with the sun glaring in at him from that window. Billy wonders why Charlie, or his mother, or Praxy, his girlfriend won't come to visit him. Dr. Phillips asks him about Charlie, who's his best friend, but there's a blinding flash every time Billy thinks about Charlie, and he can't even remember what Charlie looks like.

Michael Segedy's young adult thriller, Hampton Road, is suspenseful and compelling. The reader, in many ways, becomes Billy as he tries to piece together what happened to his life and why he's in the institution. Regardless of whether you've ever been on a motorcycle or been interested in races, the descriptions of the motorcycles, the preparation necessary for racing them, and the races themselves bring the sport alive in a manner that's never tedious or over-descriptive. I was spell-bound envisioning the moves the racers made as they competed in the qualifying heat. The school scenes are fun, with the troglodyte history teacher, the intolerant A-students, and the English teacher who seems to have it all together. Charlie, Praxy, and Billy are all great characters, complex and real, and they complement each other so well. Billy is the hero who's larger than life, and the three of them are such stout friends and loyal companions. I loved this book. It's amazingly good and very highly recommended.

Michael Segedy

A very thorough and insightful review. I enjoyed reading it and appreciate the reviewer's keen observations about the novel.

Lee Ashford

“Hampton Road” is Michael Segedy's first novel; he has published two more since the release of this one. This first novel more than adequately demonstrates the author’s extremely talented creative ability. “Hampton Road” recounts a relationship between three High School students: two boys and one girl. Both the boys own and drive motorcycles, but one of them is driven by his goal of racing on the professional circuit. When an opportunity arises, this one decides to follow his dream, so he drops out of school, thereby completely alienating himself from the girl’s father, who thereafter prohibits his daughter from associating with such a “loser”. Unfortunately, he is the one boy the girl is most infatuated with, and he reciprocates those feelings for her. The story is absolutely fascinating as it delves into the lives of these three teens. The way the story unfolds, however, hints to us all along that something major and significant – possibly tragic – is going to happen before the story is over.

The chapters in this book alternate between the recitation of past events, and the present thoughts of one of the boys who apparently is being held in an institution where a psychologist/psychiatrist tries to help him recover a large gap in his memory. This technique works quite well for this tale, and helps to maintain and enhance the suspense. Michael Segedy has crafted a heart-wrenching tale of love won and love lost. This is NOT a romance, however; it is a story of life. The final chapters are so utterly unexpected that your jaw will drop. Yet at the same time, in retrospect you realize it almost had to turn out this way. “Hampton Road” is one of the novels you have to read this year. It is one of those stories that come along rarely, which you will find yourself recommending to all your friends. I certainly recommend it to you.

Kayti Nika Raet

Hampton Road, a gritty psychological thriller by Michael Segedy, starts off when eighteen-year-old Billy Solinski wakes up to find himself in a strange hospital with no memory of what happened before. Told from three points of view - his own, his best friend Charlie, and his girlfriend Praxy - Hampton Road slowly reveals his life as a non-conformist and motorcycle racer; as well as the events that led up to his current hospital stay. Told in the vein of a Chris Crutcher or Robert Cormier novel, Hampton Road is sure to interest many motorcycle enthusiasts.

As a trio, the three narrators of Hampton Road are a bit obsessed with non-conformity, determined to be unlike their parents. They maintain their hip, counter-culture edge as they quote Emerson and discuss The Grapes of Wrath. So when Billy, the leader and most bad-ass of the trio, is described as owning a motorcycle, I had to raise an eyebrow. Perhaps back in 2004 when Hampton Road was first published a motorcycle and leathers (along with facial piercings and colorful, dyed hair) marked one as a student of 'rebeldom.' However, nearly ten years later a lot of that is pretty ordinary. That said, in YA the quickest way to indicate a character as tastefully dangerous with a bit of baby rebel is to pair them with a motorcycle.

What I like about Billy's character is that the motorcycle is more than a mere prop. He's passionate about motorcycle racing, working his way up to expert status, and following his dreams. The races he participates in are wonderfully detailed and you can almost imagine yourself there, feeling the rumble of the engine and smelling the fumes. Hampton Road is a great story that I quickly warmed up to and was subsequently blown away by the awesome twist.

Lit Amri

What exactly is Billy Solinksi supposed to remember? Somehow a sharp high school student and a potential prospect for motorcycle racing ends up in a mental institution with no memories of how and why he is there. Amnesic and confused as Billy is, everybody else seems to know about an important secret and they are waiting for him to remember it himself.

Hampton Road begins with the protagonist at the mental institution – a bleak beginning indeed. The curiosity factor here is potent as we join Billy in his struggle to find the answers. What happened? What did he do to land himself in such a state and place? And what is the deal with Dr. Phillips, the weird doctor who is interested to know about his friend Charlie and an incident at Hampton Road? Billy Solinksi is mature beyond his years and a talented motorcycle racer. His best friend Charlie is a bright, mild-mannered but strong-minded student. Both of them are in love with Praxy Bishop, a beautiful and intelligent girl who has to choose between the two friends.

Michael Segedy creates some compelling and idealistic characters. The narrative moves effortlessly back and forth between these characters’ point of view and is gratifyingly cinematic. However, the pacing of the story is a double-edged sword. I find it languidly fitting to reveal the unpredictable truth in the end, but at the same time it slows the story in a way that may not entice impatient readers. That aside, the ending is brilliantly shocking. Michael Segedy reminds us how fragile the human mind is in Hampton Road. This is a solid psychological thriller that has great depth for both YA and mature readers.