Book Review

Book Review of The Woodpecker Menace by Ted Olinger

Review first published on RebeccasReads

The WoodpeckerThe Woodpecker Menace
Ted Olinger
Plicata Press (2013)
ISBN 9780984840038
Reviewed by Kam Aures for Rebecca’s Reads (4/13)

“…The sound tore open the evening quiet: BDDDDDDDTH!  BDDDDDDDTH!  BDDDDDDDTH! My God, I thought.  It’s coming from our house!

I crept back up the driveway, concealing myself in the rhododendrons.  BDDDDDDDTH!   I slinked behind the house.  BDDDDDDDTH!  A bright flash rocketed down from the eaves and smashed into the suet basket hanging on our deck.  There it was, a tan and speckled woodpecker, shining orange under the wings, talons sunk deep into the suet, twirling at the end of the basket’s chain.  It sensed my gawking and turned its evil gaze on me.  It took off in a blur and vanished into the tree line, violently beating the air with flashes of banded gold.”  (p.8)

Ahhhh, the sounds of a woodpecker.  Reading the words in the title story of Ted Olinger’s “The Woodpecker Menace” brought back childhood memories.  Although I did not grow up in the area that Olinger’s stories are drawn from, a peninsula in Puget Sound, I did grow up in a very rural area and distinctly remember a few “woodpecker menaces” of my own.  If you have never experienced this on for yourself, Olinger’s tale does a great job of conveying exactly what it is like.

Olinger’s book is composed of many short stories telling about the life on this rural peninsula.  The stories are short in length and make for an easy read.  Some of the titles included are, “The Legend of Ghost Dog,” “The Malevolent Society of Peninsula Poets, Pedants, and Provocateurs,” and “The Saltwater We Know.”  There are also illustrations, done by Tweed Meyer, an artist in the Pacific Northwest, peppered throughout the book, which complement the stories nicely.  I really enjoyed the cover art on “The Woodpecker Menace,” it is very eye catching, and I can completely picture this book for sale in a little rural store.  The cover definitely fits well with the contents of the book.

While, I think that the book would be most appealing to those who are familiar with the area, I do think that others who live, or have lived in, rural areas will definitely be able to relate to the writings.

Looks like this book is a keeper. Keep It!

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