There is no question that Richard Paul Evans can tell a good story. He's a talented writer and storyteller.
In the fourth book of his Walk series, "A Step of Faith," which was released earlier this year, there are humorous moments, heartwarming moments, moments of self-discovery and moments of profound wisdom.
But the story is starting to lose some steam.
The main character, Alan Christofferson, who 10 months earlier lost his beloved wife to a tragic accident, his expensive home and was betrayed by a business partner, continues to make his way from Seattle to Key West, Fla. The journey begins as an escape, but along the way he is able to find some healing and forgiveness, something relatable to readers.
During his walk, Alan survives a stabbing, meets all sorts of women who think he is Mr. Wonderful, reconciles differences with his mother-in-law and concludes the third book, "The Road to Grace," by learning he has a brain tumor. This new problem requires surgery in Los Angeles as "A Step of Faith" opens. In the mix of characters are two women who have serious feelings for Alan, as well as Alan's father, who all want to take care of him.
The story, told through Alan's diary, has some compelling elements and deep thoughts, but the author seems as tired as poor Alan. It took Alan three books to go from Seattle to St. Louis.
Yet in "A Step of Faith," he treads over Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia in a short amount of time. He still meets a nice combination of interesting and insane people while eating a fine variety of Southern cuisine, but the description of his travels feel more like trivia filling in the holes of the story.
This story also felt a little rushed. It seemed to lack the depth and substance that made the first three books serious page-turners. After patiently waiting for this book to finally be released, some may wonder, "Is that all there is?"
There is a lot to like about the story as it's an easy read, and I appreciate the foreshadowing deep principles from his diary on the first page of each chapter. The dinner with the cult leader in Alabama was memorable, as well as the slow cooker stew conversation with the 60-year-old survivalist.
It has clean language and doesn't have any described violence or sexual scenes.
But just as Alan reaches Florida and you think, "Wow, he's going to end the series," something happens to force readers to wait for another book.
Perhaps this is just a major set up for something grand to happen as Alan comes down the home stretch in the Sunshine State.
If you go ...
What: Richard Paul Evans book signings
When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, noon
Where: Barnes and Noble, Gateway Crossing, 340 S. 500 West, West Bountiful
Note: Books to be signed at this event must be purchased at Barnes and Noble Bountiful location.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton
When: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Deseret Book, Fort Union, 1110 Fort Union Blvd., Midvale
When: Saturday, Nov. 1, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Where: Deseret Book, Salt Lake Downtown, 45 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
When: Saturday, Nov. 2, noon
When: Walmart, 625 West Telegraph St, Washington, Washington County
When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2 p.m.
Where: Sam's Club, 11278 S. Jordan Gateway, South Jordan
Note: Sam's Club membership required for store entrance.
When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m.
Where: Costco, 3656 Wall Ave., Ogden
Note: Costco membership required for store entrance.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: tbtoone