Normally, I read a book and the euphoria I receive from it wanes and the details fade, even though I remember it was a good read. However, Hit and Run joins a special class of books that will have you reflecting on it long after the last page. The author deftly uses his psychology background in molding the characters and their dialogues. While there is some raw language, the story’s impact would not have been the same without it.
The character, Mrs. Kryz, is loving, with an incredible capacity for patience. She communicates best through her artful drawings. The other main character, Charlie, is a young lad raised in a physically and verbally abusive environment who has given up on the world. Yet, their contradictory personalities find resolution from a tragedy that only fate could have devised. Both come across as believable characters, although there are paranormal aspects between them.
From the very first pages, the author moves the reader steadily along turning a tragic event into a positive experience for the remainder of the book. In my opinion, whether by design or luck, it was a skill that few can equal. My hat is off to Dr. Bob for taking me on a journey that called for me to reflect on my own relationships and consider how I could make them better. Bob should be named ambassador for ‘good will’ and even though he presents a work of fiction, it could easily substitute as a professional’s text book. I believe everyone that reads his book with an open mind will come away richer for turning the pages. I highly recommend this book for its emotional appeal — and I already miss Mrs. Kryz.
“Hit and Run” is a story of many things, and starts as an intersection of lives through a tragic event. But instead of treading the usual “police evidence ground” to uncover the antagonist, we meet him in a most unusual way. I’ll say nothing more to limit the spoilers, but suffice to say, this book took me on a journey I’d never taken before. Which was refreshing! And it held my interest to the end, so combined with the excellent, cliche’-free writing and the imaginative tale – and honestly, most of all, the characters – this warrants a solid 5 stars. Congrats and Very well done!!
Another 5 Stars for Bob Rich. He’s done it again, a wonderful tail with many, as usual, messages leading us to good advice on social manners.
Most normal people feel horrified and sickened by a senseless crime, particularly one committed against defenceless children. The crime in Bob Rich’s book ‘Hit and Run’ is one such act of savagery and one that cries out for justice. Where this story differs from the usual crime and punishment tale, however, is in the thoughts and actions of one old lady who witnessed the deaths and came near to becoming a victim herself. Rather than give in to a desire for vengeance against the heartless perpetrator, she is moved to forgive the young man and try to understand his motivation.
What follows is a startling account of what can happen when good people decide to show love instead of the all too easy desire for vengeance and retribution. Forgiveness is not an easy path to follow, and several members of the community are reluctant to show mercy to the young man who wantonly killed so many young children. It is a cliché that ‘no man is an island unto himself’ but like it or not we are each of us alone in our thoughts and inner torments — but what if we were not? Young Charlie Debnall, his character warped and twisted by horrific circumstances and a terrible upbringing, finds his ‘island’ connected by a causeway to the old lady he almost killed — Sylvia Kryz. This connection opens up possibilities that he had never imagined and leads to him turning his life around and taking the first steps on the long road to becoming a worthwhile member of society.
This is a simple story yet also a complex one with a wide array of characters on both sides of the ledger. Some people actively work against Charlie’s rehabilitation; others refuse to even give him a chance, but a growing number believe in the possibility of change and it is heartening to see the gradual blossoming of a mind stunted by terrible circumstances. ‘Hit and Run’ is a story of hope in a world where it sometimes seems as if civilisation is crumbling around us.
~ James M. Overton (aka Max Overton) – writes in a variety of genres, including excellent historical fiction in times as varied as that of Alexander the Great, Ancient Egypt, and the Second World War.
This story gripped me right from the first few lines.
Mrs. Sylvia Kryz, AKA The Old Duck, is an 84 year old lady who is almost bowled over by a car driven by 14 year old Charlie Debnall (Chuck, a derogative term given to him by his mother because she chucked up all the way through her pregnancy). Naomi, the school crossing lady, and six children are killed.
Charlie is an angry boy who had been brutalized by his mother’s numerous drunken and druggie boyfriends. The only person he cares about is his 6 year old brother, Tommy.
Everyone hates Charlie, but under the influence of Mrs Kryz who believes there is good in the boy, a cavalcade of colourful characters pass through the story and become staunch allies in Mrs. Kryz’s attempts to save Charlie from himself. They include Mrs Kyz’s family; Vlad Stavrou, the psychologist from Victim’s Services; Reverend Martin, a Uniting Church Minister who was jailed for murdering his sister’s rapist, but found God; and Brigitte, so full of hate after her husband left her that she alienated her children.
There are several themes skilfully wove into this story: love, hate, revenge, redemption and second chances. The story is almost brutal in parts, but so vividly portrayed I could feel the hatred, hear the vile language used by Charlie’s slovenly, alcoholic mother and Brutal Bruce, his latest stepfather. They sent shivers of distaste along my spine. Tommy, the six year old brother, was naughty and foul-mouthed, but somehow endearing just the same.
The most incredible part of this story was the parts where Charlie and Mrs. Kryz had telepathic meetings with each other. I am not into this psychic type of thing as a rule, but the events were so brilliantly executed, they were plausible even to an unbeliever like me.
Hard to say much more without spoiling the story, but believe me when I say, if you want a great read, this it. A Word of caution though. Make sure you have enough time to read it at the one sitting, because like me, you won’t want to put it down until you have devoured every word.
Is it possible for a hell-bent teenager to turn himself around?
In this story, we see a drug crazed, typical inner city youth, tired of being alive at the age of fourteen. He is angry at the world and determined to take a lot of innocent people out with him. When Charlie Debnall drives an out of control car into a group of elementary school children as they attempt to cross the street, it unleashes a chain of events which eventually lead to total and complete transformation from the inside out. Not only are school children and the crossing supervisor brutally murdered, but aging Sylvia Kraz, also attempting to cross the street with the aid of her wheelie walker, narrowly misses her demise at the hands of Charlie.
Sylvia gets a good glimpse of Charlie’s face, making eye contact, as he speeds by leaving carnage in his wake. With her uncanny artistic abilities, she sketches his face then experiences Charlie appearing to her in her bedroom through mental telepathy. Her drawing of his face leads to his arrest and yet the visits continue… [spoilers removed]
When Sylvia agrees to help look after Charlie’s little brother, Tommy, a bond of trust is formed.
Over the course of the story, we see a collage of characters all woven together with one goal in mind and that is to help Charlie and his little brother, Tommy, break the pattern of abuse and learn to be good decent humans. What they don’t realize is that they are all growing and learning in the process of helping the boys… [spoilers removed]
A fascinating read, that keeps you turning one page after the other, and holding your breath when Charlie “stuffs up”, as he calls it.
This is a great story with a message of hope and inspiration. Love wins.
Silvia Kryz, an eighty-four year old Australian woman, witnesses the mass slaughter of a crossing guard and “six lovely little children, none over seven.” Steps away from being killed by the murderous vehicle, she survives, a huge plus for the killer.
Charles Debnall, angry at life and everyone living, is responsible for the carnage. Raised by an alcoholic mother and abusive boyfriends, Charles doesn’t go to school, is dependent on alcohol and drugs, and has a vocabulary that would make a nun blush. He was named Chuck by his mother because, “I made mother chuck all through pregnancy.”
Amazingly, a psychic link between Charles and Silvia is formed soon after the massacre. At first Mrs. Kryz is appalled by the murdering teen appearing in her mind any time of day or night. Through the assistance of psychologist Vlad Stavrou, Silvia works through the shock of her experience and provides therapeutic love to a child that never experienced a caring soul during his short fourteen years of life.
Dr. Bob Rich’s novel, Hit and Run, is told from Silvia Kryz’s first person point of view. In the novel, the author shows the miracles that can happen when a community comes together to support a psychologically depressed teen.
Rich’s book is inspiring and contains a strong believable plot and well-defined characters. The setting for the story came up short in this reviewer’s mind. More description of the city and Australian countryside would have added an extra coat of texture to this otherwise finely crafted novel. Its subject matter is rarely seen in literature and is opt to warm any reader’s heart.
Hit and Run starts off with a tragedy. A young 14-year-old man, Chuck, speeds down a street and blows through a crosswalk killing several children and almost killing an 84-year-old woman, Mrs. Kryz. He was drunk, high and carried the attitude that he didn’t care who he hurt, including himself. He was arrested and put in jail. Then the most interesting thing happened. Somehow, he was able to communicate with Mrs. Kryz, and he didn’t even have to physically be there to do so.
I won’t ruin the story for those who haven’t read it but the gist of the story is that through this communication, Mrs. Kryz was able to reach this young man in a way no one ever took the time to before. She gave him one thing he wasn’t expecting.
Mrs. Kryz was able to break through the very strong and high walls that Chuck had built around himself. She took the time to figure out where all of his anger stemmed from and why someone so young would want to harm others around him and, most specifically, himself. He didn’t seem to care what came out of his mouth, how disrespectful he acted or how harmful his actions were to others. But Mrs. Kryz saw something no one else took time to see…
I loved this story very much. I’m usually drawn to thrillers and mysteries but I hold a special place in my heart for stories such as this that elicit hope and bring certain issues to light in such an honest, open and ‘real’ way. There was no harping on what the boys had gone through. There was no message of ‘forgive and forget,’ but more ‘remember but find a positive way to cope.’ And I loved that no matter how low a youth may allow themselves to go, all they are waiting for (whether they realize it or not) is that one person who believes in them and helps them to see they are worthy, wanted and mean something.
We all need an Aunt Sylvia in our lives. Bless her kind, selfless soul to bits.
I have to say, though, every time I picked the book back up, I craved a cup of tea. There were a lot of conversations over tea in this story. It reminded me of my afternoon teas with my grandma. I guess that’s part of the comfort for me in the whole story.
Take the time to read Hit and Run. You won’t be disappointed.
We live in troubled times. All around us, in country after country, people do unspeakable things. What is particularly heinous is when a young person lashes out, killing others. Thus begins this book.
Charlie, at fourteen, has given up on life and himself, and decides to share his pain by running his car through a crosswalk of children, killing a number of them and narrowly missing an elderly woman, Sylvia, in the process. Soon after the traumatizing event, Sylvia begins to have initially unwelcome paranormal contact with Charlie. Through these contacts Sylvia is allowed a window into Charlie’s past and the ugly forces that shaped his choices, and Charlie learns that not all adults are there to abuse him.
This story highlights the redemptive power of love, acceptance, kindness, and loving accountability. It shows that even when we have good reason to hate, we can choose to love and to guide others rather than punish them. It promotes looking more deeply into others to find the hurtful events that create negative attitudes and behaviors. And it encourages us to turn our own pain into something positive, rather than allow it to fester and injure us further from the inside out.
These lessons are layered within a story that focuses on the here and now, day to day transformations occurring within multiple characters as they face the aftermath of violent choices and loss. The conversations feel legitimate, and the characters could be our next door neighbors. One is left wishing that our real world could mirror the change in beliefs and attitudes shown within the story. As a person who believes in redemption and the ability to change, I recognize it often does not happen with the fluidity and speed seen in this story, but it would be a lovely world if it could.
The paranormal qualities to the story were not distracting from the reality of events. They were used in ways to make important points, and were not belabored to the point of taking away from the main plot, which appeared to accurately represent today’s youth and our troubled world.
This is a solid read which encourages readers to ponder our tendency to rush to judgment, and hand out consequences, without regard to what life influences someone has endured before doing something hurtful or incomprehensible. The psychological background of the author adds an element of authenticity to the sections of the story where Charlie is helped to understand what drove his decision and how he might change, to avoid being held hostage to those influences. Anyone who has experienced similar life events would find much encouragement within those parts of the novel.
Sylvia Kryz or Aunt Sylvia as she comes to be called, is no ordinary old woman. After witnessing a terrible incident where 6 children and a crossing guard were deliberately hit and killed by a young man in a vehicle, she begins to have graphic nightmares. After meeting with Dr Vlad Stavrou, the psychologist sent by Victims’ Services, Sylvia’s nightmares begin to be supplanted by a psychic connection with the driver of the vehicle, and through her exceptional memory and drawing skills she is able to lead police to the killer. Charlie turns out to be only fourteen years old, and badly abused, and Sylvia begins to develop an affinity with Charlie that goes back further than she can begin to imagine. This affinity has a snowball effect not just on Charlie’s and Sylvia’s life but on the lives of all the people around Sylvia, including the grieving families of victims.
Throughout the book the first person narration remains lively and engaging. The reader is pulled into the story from the opening line, and the story progresses quickly, as we follow the uncanny connection between Charlie and Sylvia. The characters are well-drawn and in spite of a hefty dose of the paranormal, are quite believable, even in their dramatic transformation. The book is built on a strong and clear message, which is a vitally important one that remains absolutely relevant: compassion and understanding is the only way to conquer hate and fear. Rich presents this message through the actions of Sylvia, showing just how powerful this counter-intuitive sympathy is in changing hearts and therefore changing society.
Hit and Run blurs genre boundaries and pulls in in a very wide range of influences including the paranormal, spiritual practices, philosophy (eastern and western), religion (also eastern and western), presenting a coming-of-age tale with the pace and plot of a mystery. The book is full of psychology, as you might expect from Rich, a former psychologist, and a likely model for Dr Stavrou. The transformation of Charlie and his younger brother Tommy is fairly extraordinary, but Rich manages the arc well, drawing on a spiritual tradition and sense of empathy that is brought into the book subtly.
Sylvia is a wonderful character and it’s a delight to find a heroine who is older, drawing on her innate wisdom and capability to heal everyone she comes in contact with, while solving any number of problems around her. Sylvia is not only deeply perceptive, but also a good cook who seems to provide a continual supply of homemade biscuits and fresh brewed leaf tea. Her approach is not only affirmative in the context of the story, but also serves as a parable for the reader too, gently reminding us that hatred begets hatred and that even the most hateful of characters have something that is fueling the anger. Hit and Run is an inspiring story with an important message that will appeal to readers of all ages.
Hit And Run, a new novel by Dr. Bob Rich, is something quite rare–actually an example of a new genre of novel. Call it EA for Elderly Adult fiction. Call it whatever you will, I call it a brilliantly told story. The protagonist, one Sylvia Kryz, is clever, humane, and gifted as an artist. And one other thing–late in her life, in her mid-eighties, she comes to recognize she has an incredible gift. Her empathetic nature has blossomed into a supernatural talent to connect with a troubled young man in ways both frightening and wonderful. Five Stars, a simply Must Read for mature adults of all ages.
~ Reviewed by John Klawitter, Hollywood writer/director/producer
I could not put the book down once I started to read it. The message is simple: forgiveness, kindness, mutual support and understanding, among many other good qualities, are the key to a better social world.
~ Alfredo Zotti – his passion is to fight stigma against disadvantaged people, particularly those lumbered with a diagnosis of a mental disorder.
Mrs. Kryz…may become my favorite literary character and yours, too. This may become your favorite cross between a literary and paranormal novel.
~ Carolyn Howard-Johnson – multi award-winning novelist and poet and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. She was an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program for nearly a decade.
A fascinating read, that keeps you turning one page after the other. This is a great story with a message of hope and inspiration.
~ Jan Sikes – author of an award-winning series honouring the life of her husband Rick Sikes, a Texan musician of note, who was falsely imprisoned.
Hit and Run is an intriguing tale of the power of love and forgiveness versus the power of hate and evil. A fascinating read!
~ Wendy Laing – is published in varied genres including crime, mystery/paranormal, humour, children’s books, and poetry.
Uplifting and Empowering. Hit and Run is an interesting and uplifting story written in a simple declarative style that’s well-suited to the imaginary diary of a most unlikely spiritual leader. I recommend Hit and Run as a perfect read for those stuck in skepticism and negativity, and who are willing to invest a little time to work toward inner peace. As such, I give it five stars.
~ Robert Eggleton – works with traumatised children in an impoverished location. His science fiction/fantasy Rarity from the Hollow naturally deals with such issues, but with the same kind of humour as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
I loved this novel Hit & Run. It’s well written with the right amount of twists and turns to keep the reader interested till the end. An entertaining and cleverly designed learning tool for anyone who may be considering a change in their life. A good read with an ingenious plot. 5 stars.
~ Bob Selden – is a guide on how to use words to improve your life. This is the theme of his nonfiction book, Don’t: How using the right words will change your life.
This tale of compassion examines human feelings of grief, despair, hope, love, hate and forgiveness. Hit and Run demonstrates that so much can be accomplished with love, understanding, and perseverance. It is timely and a great read.
~ Betty Gordon – writes entertaining crime fiction. She searches for common threads within her own life to fold into her mystery novels and short stories.
This is an absolutely phenomenal read which, unusually for me, I read in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. Each of the characters seem to actually walk off the page. I cannot recommend this book highly enough – it is one of the best books I have ever read.
~ Patricia Walker