By: Steve Zell
Publisher: Tales From Zell, Inc.
Publication Date: June 2017
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Steve Zell delivers an edge-of-your seat, page-turning thriller in his latest novel, Urban Limit.
Ken Carroll hasn’t made that golden age of retirement quite yet. However, he has managed to climb high enough on the ladder of notoriety and success with Portland Micro to earn the coveted (and forced) four-month, paid sabbatical. ‘…Seventeen years straight, a long, wide, river of press releases, PowerPoint presentations, and trade shows interrupted by nothing more than his daughter’s weekend sporting events, and an occasional day-trip to the mountains…’ Finally, the dream home and destination were no longer on their distant horizon. It was right in front of them. Ken looked forward to leaving the city behind and moving to the quaint and quiet mountain community of Cedar. He couldn’t wait to reconnect with creating music in his private studio. After all, the past seventeen years were the sacrifice he made for family and work to arrive here now. He was convinced once his family settled into the new state of the art fortress he had built, they would come around. It would be an adjustment, but wasn’t that what life was about? What Ken wasn’t prepared for was the magnitude of adjustment that lie in wait for them and it wouldn’t take long before too much change wasn’t necessarily the plan Ken had in mind.
Amanda Carroll would stand by her man. She was completely committed to making the transition from city to mountains and had spent the previous months preparing their twin teens Kristi and Reed for the drastic change as well. Living in the mountains meant homeschooling for the two. Not quite keen on the matter, they didn’t have much of a voice in changing the situation. Kristi acquiesced once she realized daddy had designed her very own practice ski slope with tow rope to get her back up the hill in their own backyard. Kristi was an Olympic contender and there weren’t many kids on her block who had their very own personal training grounds. In contrast, Reed was a computer nerd. He wanted nothing more than uninterrupted hours to spend lost in the fantasy of Mythykal - his latest fascination in computer games. Indeed, it’s going to be an adjustment for all the Carroll family members. When the mother of all storms begins to brew and is headed straight for their mountain, perhaps Ken should have thought his plan out a bit more thoroughly. By the time the storm passes, lives will change, and some will be lost…forever.
Steve Zell is the master of ramping the goosebump effect early on in this thriller of a story. From the onset, there is a sublime element of foreboding that only builds with intensity from beginning to the bitter end. The characters are superbly developed with their own identities ranging from innocence to blatant selfishness. There is a fantastic tone of foreboding and evil that lurks beneath the surface that moves the story along at a good clip. Mr. Zell has an envious talent of setting each scene with precise description and an intensity that lends way to credible dialogue. It makes for a wonderful ride through terrific peaks and equally low valleys throughout. I have not had the pleasure of reading any of Mr. Zell’s previous works, but certainly have penned him in to do just that and soon. Well done Mr. Zell. I look forward to your next thrilling tale.
Quill says: Be careful what you wish for in your retirement years. When the time comes, what you envisioned may not be what actually comes to pass.