Book Review: Alfie Carter

Ironically enough, I recently reconnected to my college roommate just as I finished reading Lone Star Literary Life’s latest rec, Alfie Carter. Why is this ironic, you ask? Because my friend has been living and teaching English in Africa for the past four years. Not only this, but my college roommate also grew up in a small Western town. She wasn’t raised on a ranch, her family came from the “lower” class, just like our titular character in Alfie Carter. I thought this timely, because as she shared her stories with me, I wondered if some of her students were victims of violence similar to Jackaleena. They say life immitates fiction. Or is it fiction immitates life? Either way, I hope you’re intrigued and ready to learn the story behind B.J. Mayo’s Alfie Carter.

ALFIE CARTER

by B.J. Mayo

Published by Skyhorse Publishing
Pages: 288
Published: January 19th, 2021
Categories: Southern Fiction / Rural Fiction / Mystery

Scroll down for the giveaway!


Synopsis

The seemingly never-ending Cabinda War (1975—) has left multitudes dead in its wake and thousands of children homeless and orphaned. Jackaleena N’denga, a young Angolan girl, has become the sole survivor of one specifically brutal village massacre carried out by a band of guerrilla boy-soldiers. Jackaleena’s resilience leads her to an orphanage on the west coast of Africa, known as Benguela by the Sea, where she and other children are taken in and protected. Her brilliant mind and endless questions capture the heart of her mentor, Margaret, who ensures her that her survival thus far—especially being the survivor from her village—must mean she has big things ahead of her. When the opportunity arises, she must find her purpose.

Not without a plan, Jackaleena stows away on a mercy ship that has made its yearly visit to the orphanage and is now preparing to return to America. Her journey takes her across the ocean, into the arms of New York City’s customs officials, and finally into placement in a temporary foster home in Texas. Enter Alfie Carter—a workaholic, small-town detective who is also battling memories of his past. His life is forever changed when he meets a young African girl looking for her higher purpose.

Purchase: Skyhorse Publishing

goodreads link


Review

Some families aren’t born but made. Some people are broken to learn how to protect others from breaking.

Alfie Carter is a difficult book to peg down. From the cover, we instantly envision the story of a young family on the Texas ranch. I imagined a story of damaged souls coming together to find family and happiness. While this assumption isn’t too far off the mark, the actual story is much more complicated. And the image we see on the cover isn’t something we will see until much closer to the end. 

The story begins with the woman we soon learn was named Jackaleena in another life. A life where her African village was murdered and brutalized by raiders. A life where she was forced to survive and somehow finds her way on a ship sailing for America. Little does she know of the future waiting for her in Texas. Alfie and Beatrice Carter  lost their only girl years ago. Ever since, Alfie lives for each new crime case, and struggles to relate with his estranged wife. The most recent case gives him the chance to write wrongs, reconnect with Beatrice, and eventually open his heart to little Jackaleena.

Readers should be aware that while the cover portrays the heart of the novel, throughout the story there are many episodes of brutality and violence. This is not always an easy book to read, and in contrast, much of the violence is offset by many quoted passages from the Bible. It can feel a bit preachy at times, but I also appreciated that the author didn’t hold back from the realities of the world. Another issue I had was the formatting. I was provided with an advanced copy, so there may still be a few kinks the publisher needs to iron out. I would recommend the character perspective be shown, along with the year the chapter takes place in. There are frequent time and character jumps I found slightly confusing. What I truly enjoyed was the way B.J. Mayo truly pulled me into the dark jungle of Africa with Jackaleena, and alongside Alfie in his struggle to find meaning in the midst of darkness.

Recommended for fans of Christian fiction and small-town crime series like Longmire, Alfie Carter bridges continents and hearts in an epic journey toward faith and redemption.

**I was provided with a copy of Alfie Carter by the publisher and this is my voluntary and honest review.**


MEET B.J. MAYO

 

BJ Mayo was born in an oil field town in Texas. He spent the first few years of his life living in a company field camp twenty-five miles from the closest town. His career in the energy industry took him to various points in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Louisiana, Bangladesh, Australia, and Angola West Africa. He and his wife were high school sweethearts and have been married for forty-six years with two grown children. They live on a working farm near San Angelo, Texas.

Visit BJ Mayo at his website


GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

THREE WINNERS each receive an

autographed copy of ALFIE CARTER.

US only. Ends midnight, CST, March 5, 2021.

A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY


CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE 

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, or visit the blogs directly:

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