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Reviewed by Rolanda Lyles for Readers' Favorite
Carrie Brinkley suddenly loses her job as the IT Manager for Pilgrim Burgers, a small but fast-growing small business. Weeks later, her friend Teresa Dill also loses her job as the company's Chief Financial officer. Carrie's sudden job loss and her boyfriend's breakup prompt her to do something drastic during the opening weeks of the pandemic to reset her life in a positive direction. She decides to embark on a solo two-month cross-country bicycle trip from Virginia Beach to Mendocino, California. Teresa, however, decides to look more closely at the reasons for their termination. As the Chief Financial officer, she found documents with inconsistencies where the amounts were largely inflated to get more COVID funds, but there were documents showing that the money was being used for its intended purposes. Her curiosity was piqued, and she decided to take files with her when she left so she could do some more research. Teresa then shared those files with Carrie so she could look at them as well, but Carrie was more focused on her two-month bike journey of self-discovery. During Carrie's journey, she faces many obstacles that she has never encountered before in her sheltered life and makes a few friends along the way. What she doesn't know is that she is being stalked and her life could be in grave danger.
E.A. Coe's Pedaling West is an action and suspense-packed coming-of-age story about Carrie, a young woman who has had the perfect but sheltered life with her parents and her job. She suddenly loses everything and the events force her to go out and discover who she is. A story about perseverance, endurance, and inner strength, packed with emotional highs and lows. Coe's writing is so vivid and descriptive that I found myself squeezing my imaginary bike brakes when I got to parts in the story where Carrie had near accidents. Coe's characters are ingeniously written. All the characters were carefully thought out and meticulously executed. I especially enjoyed how Coe added himself to the story at the end. It was kind of a reference to how Stan Lee always put himself in his movies as an extra. I found it humourous and a refreshing way to end the story. Each stop during the long trek taught Carrie something new about herself and her abilities just as, in life, our experiences should teach us something and make us better. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Pedaling West and I look forward to reading more of this author's works.