Mandala Mandela

Fiction - Crime
312 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

R.J. Myles, is somewhat a mystery. Apparently a pseudonym, ‘R.J. Myles’ is also the name of the main character in the last part of Mandala, Mandela. Myles appears to have lived in Oregon in the early 1970's, where he wrote the first draft of this book. The work was originally entitled "Mandella" utilizing the misspelling of the Peter, Paul and Mary song on their 1700 album of the same period. The original manuscript was written in long hand using spiral notebooks, some of which have the University of Oregon logo on their covers. Several other manuscripts from Myles are set to be published over the next few years. These books appear to have been written as he made his way across the county in the later half of the twentieth century

    Book Review

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.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Mandala Mandela by R.J. Myles is a crime fiction story set in Starvation, a small town in Oregon. It's 1971 and six teenagers all set out on an adventure. They head two miles out of town to an old barn but what happens there turns everyone’s blood cold. Six bodies are discovered in the barn, all brutally slain, but the Sheriff has the eerie feeling that someone is watching the barn. A town outcast is shot when he appears with a bloody knife and a gun and the townspeople come to terms with the deaths and accept that the guilty man is dead. But is he? Sometimes, what people are led to believe is as far from the truth as it can be - but what happens when the real memories begin to surface and the truth comes out?

Mandala Mandela by R.J. Myles is an eerie, gripping tale that will stay with you long after it has ended. The story is split into two – the boys and the murders and then the story from another perspective, John Boy, telling us what led to the murders. It will make your skin crawl. This is an exceptionally well-written story, getting under your skin at the start and worming its way further in as you read on. All the characters are well-defined in both parts of the story and you may like them, you may not. R.J. Myles has written them as real people with real if terrifying backstories and you will relate to them on one level or another. There is a great lead-in in both parts to the events of that terrible night and part two will draw the entire story together for you. It's action all the way and some very descriptive prose will transport you to that barn, to the close-knit town of Starvation, and have you feel everything that happens as though you were there in 1971. If you want a book that will thrill you, send shivers down your spine and keep you hooked until the end, try this one.

Jose Cornelio

Mandala Mandela by R.J. Myles is a meld of crime and mystery that follows the story of a small town. It is set in Starvation, Oregon in 1971. Six teenagers — Crantz, Glenda, Linda, Bobby, Judy, and Luther — plan to visit the old Pricket’s barn, located two miles outside the small town, excited to have a lot of fun. But they end up murdered. A local farmer, Fred Schroder, discovers a body in the barn while feeding his cows, then two more bodies are discovered after the Sheriff arrives. But the devastating discovery is the murder of the six teenagers. Who murdered the kids and what effect does it have on the close-knit community of Starvation? And why would someone murder another person and go to the movies and feel as comfortable as if nothing happened?

The writing is atmospheric, from the vivid descriptions of the town and the locales to the horrors at Pricket’s barn to the characters that are elaborately explored. The story is about the characters, but it is more than that. It tells the story of a town and the life of its inhabitants. It is a place that looks idyllic, but that witnesses a devastating horror, and the people of the town find it hard to wake up to reality. Mandala Mandela is a psychologically disturbing and a gripping story. It is well-written and it features characters that are hard to forget. R.J. Myles creates a setting that comes alive as it allows readers to follow the events, wanting to see if things can get back to normal. It is original, intense, and absorbing in a sinister kind of way.