May 11, 2011

“The House on Hurley Pond Road”, Review Part Two

Posted in Fun Stuff tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:59 am by autismmommytherapist

A couple of months ago I wrote a “pre-review”  about a book called “The House on Hurley Pond Road”, written by a compelling local author named Darren Fitzgerald. I “plugged” him prior to reading his actual work because he has generously deemed a portion of his profits to POAC (Parents of Autistic Children), and when I found out he’d be at the first POAC walk-a-thon, I hoped the post would encourage people to take it upon themselves to meet him. I’ve since had the opportunity to actually read his work (I ordered it all by myself on Amazon, I know you’re proud), and would just like to say a few words about the writing now that I’ve had the pleasure of perusing his book.

Frankly, it scared the crap out of me.

As I mentioned before, I’m no newbie to the horror genre, having read multiple Stephen King books to their tattered ends as an adolescent, and I’ve steeled myself through any number of terrifying movies as well. I’ve never quite gotten over Linda Blair’s psychotic twirling (a fear only intensified while living a mile from the Georgetown apartment in which it was filmed), but for the most part, I’m fairly immune to the “scary stuff”. This time however, I’m not sure if it was the writing style, which was compelling, or the constant action, which was riveting, or the fact I drive by the street in which his house was located at least once a week. The truth is, I couldn’t put it down, didn’t even skip to the end to see what I predicted would be a horrifying outcome, as I am wont to do.

Honestly, I ignored my kids to finish it.

For the most part, my ability to read is confined to a period between 8:30 and 8:45 PM, that vast expanse of time which encompasses two (in theory) sleeping children, and my last remaining minutes of coherent consciousness (suffice it to say, Barnes and Noble isn’t making much money off of me these days). It’s not really possible for me to read when the kids are home, what with Justin needing constant second-to-second surveillance and Zach constantly asking me to take on the role of various dinosaurs I’ve never heard of, but for this book, I broke all the rules. I brought it into the laundry room with me between loads, and stole a couple of minutes there. I engulfed a few pages while playing hide-and-seek with my youngest (guess who got to hide, and who got to “count silently” in her head). Of course, it came into the bathroom with me, and on more than one occasion my husband had to rip it out of my hands so he could “tell me something” (but really, what’s more important than poltergeists?).

Clearly, I loved it.

Darren, who is not only a contributor to POAC, but appears to be a really nice guy (and if I’m going to blow off my kids to read somebody’s book, that’s important to me as well), will be promoting his work at the Monmouth County Mall’s Barnes and Noble on Saturday, May 21st, at 7:00 PM. If I wasn’t putting my own little demons to bed, I’d be there, and I encourage you to make the time if you can to go say hello, and purchase his book (if you dare!). It’s nice these days not only to discover a good read, but to know the author behind it is a good person too.

Thanks again Darren for contributing to POAC, and best of luck!

March 18, 2011

Darren Fitzgerald: Book Review

Posted in Fun Stuff tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:18 am by autismmommytherapist

In the past year I’ve become a volunteer for POAC, Parents of Autistic Children in Brick, NJ, primarily in the area of fundraising (strangely, I find I deeply enjoy asking people to part with money for a good cause).  Recently, a prominent member of the organization emailed me and requested I promote a close local friend of his, Darren Fitzgerald, on my blog.  It seems that Mr. Fitzgerald, although having no connection to autism other than his relationship to this POAC member, has decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from his published book to our organization.  Since I’ll promote anyone who wants to add to POAC’s coffers other than possibly Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen (and even they’re negotiable), I was happy to comply.  So, I googled him (yes, I know how to do that all by myself), found his website, (here),and began to delve into both his personal and professional story.

I quickly learned his book is about the supernatural.  Bonus.

For those of you not aware I won second prize in the seventh grade science fair for my innovative interpretations of the inner workings of ESP, I will have you know I am a bona fide fan of all things unworldly.  My love for the genre embraced both “straight” sci-fi and horror, with my predilection for the former being mostly satisfied by Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, and my penchant for the latter being fulfilled by the master himself, Stephen King.  I spent more than a few nights during my childhood immersed in my covers with my tiny flashlight reading these works way past my bedtime (I suspect now my mother was aware of my transgressions), scaring myself silly, and rendering myself exhausted for the next school day.  Suffice it to say, I am well-versed in the literary aspect of the supernatural.

I know.  I was such a cool kid.

After perusing Darren’s website, I was happy to discover a link that took me to an excerpt of his story (I got to click the pages of a fake book to read the first chapter, is there nothing this new-fangled technology can’t do?).  I admit I was immediately drawn in, his writing style engrossing me enough to even make me forget my favorite show on the Food Network was about to broadcast.  His work chronicles the story of a “truly menacing and malevolent force that could cause serious harm and wanton destruction at a moment’s notice”, and of course, I was immediately hooked after reading both that gripping description, and the first page of his book.  I whipped through the first chapter provided to me, captivated by compelling characters, a well-developed plot line, and most importantly to me, the story’s inherent credibility, as it took place during his childhood in his own central Jersey home.  Long story short, I’ll be purchasing this author’s literary debut with glee, and not just because he’s contributing part of the proceeds to POAC.

Here’s some more great news.  There’s even an upcoming sequel.

So, if you’re in the mood for what appears to be an edge-of-your-seat  supernatural thriller, please visit Darren Fitzgerald’s website at: and show him some love.

While you’re at it, you’ll be “showing the money” to POAC as well.  To you, readers, a most heartfelt thank you in advance!