The Caretaker

Influencing Decision Makers

Fiction - Drama
114 Pages
Reviewed on 12/24/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Author Ken Saik is a retired social studies teacher with the Edmonton Public School Board. He has also served as an executive member of the Alberta Teachers’ Association and a member of the Greater Edmonton Alliance, a lobby group working to improve housing for the poor. He had enrolled in the pressure group’s training course on engaging people for political action.
In his book, The Caretaker, Ken Saik uses the lessons he learned to arm Steve, the story’s protagonist, to stop a developer from converting the public park into an expensive condo high rise.
He has also published 5 other books. In 2021 expect to see two new (young adult) books.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Natalie Soine for Readers' Favorite

Sebastian’s Sanctuary, the crown jewel of Aspen Grove’s park system, is threatened by Hollis Homes Property Developer Walter Kohlborg, who aims to construct Park Place Condominiums on the property. The residents of Country Nest come together to try to save Sebastian’s Sanctuary with its forty-acre park and wildlife. The Caretaker of Country Nest is Steve Turphin whose grandfather purchased the property and declared it a sanctuary, never to be developed. The residents form a pressure group, Defenders of Sebastian’s Sanctuary (DOSS) led by Raymond Tesseray. Colin (Steve’s brother-in-law) is the president of the organization called Sanctuary Guardian that protects and maintains the land. Author Ken Saik tells the suspenseful story of how this small group of dedicated people take on the wealthy, corrupt business leaders to save their beloved, special sanctuary.

Through his novel The Caretaker, Ken Saik brings us an important message. We must preserve our sanctuaries and it takes only a small group of dedicated people to fight corruption. I love the way Ken introduces new ways for the team to fight their battle including making use of the press, Mike Masters, and CBC News. The interesting array of characters carry this fast-paced story forward, showing that compassion and dedication go a long way in bringing a community together. The novel is smooth flowing and makes for comfortable reading pleasure. Ken Saik does an excellent job of describing the scenery and locations including the sanctuary and surrounding areas. All-round, a great story and highly recommended to readers of all ages.

K.C. Finn

The Caretaker: Influencing Decision Makers is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, social issues, and slice of life subgenres. It was written for the general reading audience by author Ken Saik. A relatively cozy and enjoyable tale with some serious issues brewing underneath the surface, this concise novel follows the challenges faced by protagonist Steve Turphin when developer Walter Kohlborg threatens to develop over the wildlife sanctuary that Steve’s grandfather once owned. As the retiring and reticent Steve is brought out of his shell and forced to fight for what’s right, he begins to use the unusual set of skills he’s picked up on life’s journey to address the issue in a firm and unique manner.

Author Ken Saik packs a lot of knowledge and complexity into a book that you could devour quite happily in a single enjoyable afternoon. One of the features I particularly appreciated about this novel was the author’s narrative style, which balances intelligent dialogue with gentle indications of the subtleties going on under the radar with certain characters that may be up to no good. It’s clear that the author has a broad knowledge of the subject matter and the problems which Steve faces during his battle with Kohlborg, and I enjoyed that sense of realism. This also extended into the character development, where Walter is not made out to be some cartoonish bad guy, but a real person with flaws and vulnerabilities too. Overall, I would recommend The Caretaker for adult readers seeking realistic drama at its best.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

It’s all about how you can maneuver public opinion and find a reasonable, equitable, and favorable compromise. The only problem is, when Steve’s now deceased grandfather’s protected park is threatened by an aggressive developer, it requires his coming out of retirement and meeting the public eye, all to save a piece of green paradise which is doomed to either a concrete maze or more unwanted violence. The first step is a letter-writing campaign, but when that fails, the group formed to address the issue must seek an alternate arrangement to lure the unwanted development to another location. Can they do this? Will the developer be in agreement? But that leaves the problem of park muggings – how do they address this ongoing threat?

Ken Saik’s novel, The Caretaker: Influencing Decision Makers, is a fascinating look at urban politics and the growing desire to develop precious greenspace into colossal structures of glass and concrete. The story is told in third person narrative, following the points of view of multiple characters from both sides of the argument. The narrative is told in present tense, which, at times is a little awkward. However, there is plenty of dialogue which strengthens the plot development and storyline. The characters are well developed and the conflict very believable. The author’s characters are strong and determined and bring out both the good and the not-so-good found in humanity. The battle to save a piece of greenspace will be inspirational for readers faced with similar issues in their own communities. Powerful and clever messages and strategies.

Astrid Iustulin

Some projects have to be stopped. That of Walter Kohlborg, an unscrupulous developer, is one of them. His goal is to build a condo on Sebastian's Sanctuary, and he will do everything possible to overcome objections and make his project a reality. However, many people oppose the project and join a group called DOSS (Defenders of Sebastian's Sanctuary). Also, Steve, the grandson of the multimillionaire who donated Sebastian's Sanctuary to the community, is concerned about its future. He wants to be sure that the wishes of his grandfather, who wanted the park to be "a home for nature’s wildlife," is respected. Will Steve be up to the task? This is what you will discover by reading Ken Saik's The Caretaker.

The Caretaker tells a compelling story that anyone who has ever fought for something will enjoy reading. If Kohlborg is a formidable antagonist, Steve is a protagonist whose story is interesting to learn. I also enjoyed learning about Steve's grandfather and how it happened that he left the park to the city. I really liked how Saik told the story of the park and the characters connected to it. Anyone who reads The Caretaker will notice how the author has taken care of the details and has told a perfectly clear story. Although The Caretaker is not a very long book, I appreciate it for its precision and consistency. Overall, it is a story that pleasantly entertains readers, and I am grateful to Saik for writing it.