Book Review and Commentary: Beckon

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Beckon by Tom Pawlik isn’t just a story about a town with dark secrets, but one that asks: How much will a person pay financially and spiritually to live forever?

The Summary

Three people from different parts of the world discover Beckon—a town dependent upon the sheriff for survival.

Jack Kendrick came to Wyoming to look for his father. His father went missing seeking a lost tribe called the N’watu when Jack was young. Jack’s father believed that an underground civilization existed in Wyoming. When Jack grows up, he and his best friend Rudy pack a camper and head west. Through a series of violent events, Jack finds Beckon.

George Wilcox, his career choice less clear, works in Washington D.C. and has a wife sick with Alzheimer’s.

Then, there’s Elina Gutierrez—an LAPD officer. She’s looking for her illegal brother who went missing while soliciting for a job. We meet her as she shoots someone, leaving us wondering what’s going on in this town of Beckon?

A sheriff owns the town and is feeding souls to the Soul Eater in exchange for living healthy forever. In turn, the power has changed him and made him god over his town. He decides who lives or who dies, but everybody has a weakness.

Creatively Exploring Our Obsession With Age and Beauty

Fiction has always explored topics that nonfiction takes on with more depth. Mary De Muth said in her newsletter:

“On May 23, 2000,I heard Chuck deliver a Breakpoint entitled “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: The Power of Story.” Click the link to read it. I had been so stunned and struck by his words, that I ordered the transcript. One thing he said was “I know when it comes to learning moral lessons, I’ve often been much more affected by works of fiction than by abstract theological discourses.” He spoke of the story’s power to transform culture, something that resonated so deeply in me, I could physically feel the stirring in my chest. In that moment, I knew.”

With that said, Beckon explores our societies obsession with living young forever. The N’watu provides the sheriff with a powerful liquid that when ingested takes away all disease and old age. In George Wilcox’s mind, having his wife return to her youth and vigor seemed worth the price of living in a town that required them to stay forever. He was still uncertain, especially when the Sheriff demands George’s life savings in exchange for Miriam’s life. The Sheriff says the doctor in the town is working at synthesizing the youth elixir so it could be mass-produced, but until then many of the residents required daily doses in order not to experience it’s one major side effect—twisting, agonizing, torturous death. Death and aging makes them fearful. Pawlick’s book makes a great point about our obsession with living forever.

Plastic surgery has turned back the clock on many a celebrity. Take the article on where a 71-year old celebrity wowed everyone in a skin-tight dress appearing sexier than the twenty-year olds on the red carpet. There are many stories on the internet about who got what kind of plastic surgery. On the commercials we all see the advertisements for the latest creams that can erase crows feet and make our skin look young. Injections into our face tighten the lines so they disappear. But to what end?

I believe Beckon does a good job in writing a story around our obsession with youth and beauty, and George’s wife, Miriam said it best:

I’m not saying this isn’t a wonderful opportunity. It’s incredible and I’d love for it to last forever. But something about it just feels wrong. Everything has a cost to it—more than just money.” (pg. 239)

In Conclusion

Beckon by Tom Pawlick is a five-star novel. Many parts of it should be read late at night when it’s the quietest because of the dark subterranean creepy-crawlies that make your skin form goose bumps. It’s plot is fast paced and complex. You fight the feelings of hopelessness for those who are captured to be fed to the Soul Eater so the town of Beckon can live forever. Pawlick successfully draws out the emotions of the reader and makes these places believable.

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
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Brenda Castro
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Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Janeen Ippolito
Becky Jesse
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Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Katie McCurdy
Shannon McDermott
Karen McSpadden
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
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Crista Richey
Kathleen Smith
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5 thoughts on “Book Review and Commentary: Beckon”

  1. I wondered while reading the book what the consequences would be if the stuff COULD have been synthesized. Having everyone’s life span increased would cause chaos. So would having some person in charge of who gets the treatment, and for how long.


  2. Good thoughts, Nikole. But I’m afraid I could not agree about reading the book at night. That one I avoided purposefully. Too creepy. But I thought Mr. Pawlik did a superior job making the reader think without telling us what to think.



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