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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Mandala Mandela by R.J. Myles is a novel that combines crime and horror to deliver a wonderful reading experience. The setting is the town of Starvation, Oregon. In this novel, six teenagers — Crantz, Glenda, Linda, Bobby, Judy, and Luther — meet and set out on an adventure to Pricket’s Barn, a barn that had something unique for each of the teenagers. When the local farmer, Fred Schroder, discovers a body in the barn, he is alarmed. But then there is something more shocking: all six teenagers have been murdered. But by who? While Joseph’s guilt is accepted, Fred faces second-degree murder. The town hurries to get back to normal. But in the second part of the story, Richard John Myles returns home for his uncle’s funeral after twenty years away. But who is John Myles and what is his connection to the murder of the six teenagers?
R.J. Myles’ Mandala Mandela is a suspenseful novel with a wonderful plot. The plot is twisty and it is hard to guess what happens next. The story begins with a wonderful description of the town of Starvation, Oregon, with the morning shining down. The “contented big-bellied farmers” love the town and never shy away from telling curious passersby how the town received its name. As the story progresses, the reader gets a strong image of this little town that has a life of its own. The characters are well-developed and real. I loved how the author writes mystery into the story, making the reader wonder if the right person is held responsible for the crime. Mandala Mandela is written in wonderful prose — descriptive and laden with strong imagery — and it features a crime that rocks the tranquil life of a small rural community. It is gripping and entertaining.