Blue’s Point by Richard Ferguson
Warning: Extreme Racism, Racial Slurs, Violence, Murder, Sexual Assault
Blue’s Point by Richard Ferguson is a thriller set in the small (very racist) American town of Blue’s Point. Steve Cox has just been released from prison after being convicted of murdering a black man, but did he really do it? And who killed his father, the Klan’s Grand Dragon? Mykeisha ‘Mike’ Ali is a black journalist looking to expose the town of Blue’s Point for the racist place that it is. She has barely touched down when she finds her life threatened by an army of skinheads, Klan members, and the general populace of a town who believes there is only one ‘proper’ skin colour. Freedman’s town, not even a two minute walk from Blue’s Point, is where the African-American population has been segregated to and for a while, the people of Blue’s Point were happy with that. But with the Federal Government forcing integration and tensions that have been slowly building up coming to the surface, things are about to change in a big way, and not everyone will make it out alive.
First of all, I will say right now that this book is not for people easily offended by ‘hot topics’ like extreme racism, sexual assault, violence against women, murder of children, etc. If you are someone who doesn’t like when authors use these things as plot in books then, and I cannot say it enough, this book is not for you.
Moving on. For whatever reason, maybe I forgot what it was about or maybe I read a different description than the Amazon one, but I had no idea what I was getting into with Blue’s Point. Luckily, I’m not someone who needs to be prepared before reading things with sensitive topics, but it was certainly a shock. You find out pretty quickly that the majority of the tension involved is going to be directly related to Race issues.
I’ll mention the technical things first like the writing and dialogue. I thought these two aspects were done really well with the dialogue generally fitting the characters and the writing flowing well with less than a handful of minor errors. Letting you know that the ‘N’ word (if you don’t know what word than I apologize, but I’ve been informed it’s not PC to spell it out, even in a review of a book that uses it) is used a lot because 98% of the characters are very much racist, but it did fit with them and with the story in general.
The characters were fairly well done. I hated 98% of them, which I’m fairly sure is what the intention was (at least, I hope so!). It made it a little hard to read when you just wanted to shake sense into people who refuse to acknowledge anything that doesn’t support their own beliefs, but I feel that way about real life people a lot of the time, which made things a bit more realistic. The main characters didn’t really connect with me, but they weren’t flat or two dimensional.
Before I get into the plot, I want to note that I have no idea of when this novel takes place (past, present, or future). I’m not quite sure if that says more about me, the author, or the state of the world we live in…
As for the plot… This is where I’m on the fence. On one hand, it wasn’t bad, but the more I think about it, the harder it becomes for me to figure out what the point of it all was. I’ve read some comments saying that the author, Richard Ferguson, does a good job of allowing the Race topic to support the main plot without being the plot, but I have to disagree. For me, it seemed like the extreme racism of Blue’s Point was the main plotline being followed and things like Steve’s Dad’s murder, Steve being framed for murder, and other secondary plot lines were completely buried and underdeveloped. They all could have been removed and it still would have been the same book which is the main reason I’m giving the plot a lower rating. By the end, I didn’t feel like I took much away, which for this kind of subject matter seems a little problematic. I did feel the imagery at the very last page was a good place to leave it, though I do wish there had been something more when it came to repercussions for the entire town.
As far as thrillers go, it had exciting moments and good tension, and I was able to sit down and read it without getting bored or putting it down for hours or days dreading picking it back up; but it could have been better. Secondary plots could have been scrapped or further developed and the main one could have been made clearer and a little more polished, especially with the overall ending. There could have been a bit of a better connection with the main characters as well. That said, the writing was very well done and I would probably read more from Ferguson if I came across another of his books.
Entertainment Value: 3/5
Average Overall Rating: 3.4/5
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