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Book review: The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans is a life journey well worth the effort
Richard Paul Evans is the author of "The Broken Road." - photo by Kent Larson
"THE BROKEN ROAD," by Richard Paul Evans, Simon and Schuster, $19.99, 304 pages (f)

The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans isnt just a story but a journey well worth the effort. The novel is the kind that will stay with readers long after the book is closed. About second chances and the long, broken road to redemption, it may be one of Evans' best works.

The story starts with Evans traveling Route 66, wanting to write something about fading Americana. However, he finds no inspiration until he comes across a man in a diner. Overcoming the mans disheveled appearance, Evans talks to him and, in the process, figures out what he is meant to write: the tale of Charles James, a huckster who sold wealth plans and supposedly died in an airplane crash the year before.

Charles isnt even his real name, but he is related to the infamous Jesse James. He is a man who has fought and clawed his way to success only to realize hes unhappy. As he retells the story to Evans, readers learn about a tragic childhood, a rags-to-riches young adulthood, and finally the ways in which he betrayed all he held dear as the need to have more overcame him.

This is a story about mistakes, triumphs, joys, woes and all the emotions involved with each. It is about the romance of a lifetime and the incredible stupidity of losing it. The reader will feel sorry for Charles, love him, hate him and even pity him.

Evans also includes small quotes at the beginning of each chapter that are from Charles diary. The quotes are worth as much as the story itself.

This is an excellent read. The plot is engaging and fast-paced. There is no profanity or violence and only vague sexual references.