Friday, March 09, 2007

Review: The Survivors by Dinah McCall

All right, so most of you know how much I was anticipating this book, The Survivors by Dinah McCall. I've been a fan of Dinah McCall, aka Sharon Sala. I've first became a fan of Ms Sala after reading Out of the Dark, a very touching story of a woman who was kidnapped by her own mother as a child and brought to a cult where the leader pimped the children to pedophile. Luckily for that woman, she was able to run away with a friend and escape that hell. Meanwhile, her father has been looking for mother and daughter for more than 15 years. Seriously, that book was really good. So I've hunted for Ms Sala's backlist and discovered that she also wrote books under the name of Dinah McCall (why do authors have several pen names?). I really like her style and she has become an auto-buy for me. The Survivors was supposed to come out last year, but for some unknown reason, the release date was pushed back a year... so I really have been waiting for this book for a long time and finally, have bought it and read :D

The Survivors by Dinah McCall (aka Sharon Sala): 3.75/5
published by Mira in March 2007

Ethan O'Ryan has come back from Iraq with a missing eye and a whole lot of scars. After months of recovery, he has come home and the only thing he wants is to see his son of five years old, Johnny, who has been living with his maternal grandparents. A few nights before Christmas, Ethan is woken up by a phone call from his great-grandfather, Thorn, who is asking about Johnny's wellfare because he has a feeling. After a few phone calls, Ethan learns that his in-laws wanted to surprise him and arrive a few days early; however, their plane has crashed in the Appalachians and no survivor is known yet. Unwilling to sit by their phones and wait for news, 4 generations of O'Ryan men (great-grandfather Thornton, grandfather James, father Mike - also the hero, and Ethan) show up at the crash site.

Deborah Sanborn is a psychic. Her gift first presents in a preominition where she saw her father, along with 11 other men, die in a mine collapse, when she was about 6-7 years old. Now 40 years old, she lives away from the others, but not in isolation/reclusion, in the mountain in the familial home and help whenever she can after a premonition. As a result, she heads down to the crash site after "seeing" a woman and a young boy walking away from the plane crash, because she knows she can help locating them. In addition, she feels that they are in danger as a third survivor wants to harm them.

Molly C. survived the plane crash and woke up only to witness the murder of the passenger sitting in front of her, at the hands of his friend. Molly is not the only survivor or witness, as Johnny O'Ryan also saw what happened. Panicked and afraid for their safety, Molly grabs the boy, some blankets and some food and walk away from the plane crash... Upon seeing the tracks of footsteps in the snow, Darren Wilson knows that they are survivors and witnesses and isn't about to let them go so easily... Thus starts his pursuit to eliminate them.

Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, romantic suspense, psychic

Review: I enjoy the book, but I think that deep down inside me, there was some disbelief which is why the book didn't get a better grade. I mean, everything looks so easy that it became a bit unrealistic... or perhaps it's me who's a bit ignorant about life and I believe it's not possible to do, but it is. However, it was still very enjoyable and Ms Sala's narrative voice is smooth as ever.

The Characters - I bet everyone's wondering about the characters, especially the 5 generations of O'Ryan men. I was a bit puzzled at first, cos it's rare you see a great-grandfather alive, but it works. Thornton is in his eighties, James in his sixties, Mike is 45 y.o., Ethan is 20-something and Johnny is 5. By the way, if you're also wondering, Thornton's wife died a decade ago, James' wife has Alzheimer and he had to put her in a care center, Mike divorced twice and Ethan's a widower. So not only do O'Ryan men have children at a young age, they all quite lonely and in addition, all of them went to wars - want me to name them? LOL :P I have to say it was quite interesting to see so many men of a same family, but different generations interact. It also showed how family is important and how they were all there for each other. So yeah, this was a definite plus.

Deborah was also a very interesting character. She's older than most heroine I read and well, it showed by her poise and maturity, but at the same time, she's not a mom or career woman and so, I was able to relate to her and almost forgot she was 40. She's very independant and self-sufficient and strong and I liked that about her. The only thing that bothered me a little was the fact that her psychic abilities weren't really explained - does she see only the future or there something more, does she have some control over them or etc.

Also, sidenote for those who don't like children in their books - give this a try. Johnny does not baby-talk, is not a teenager with a sullen attitude, isn't too cute and isn't perfect. He's a little boy who's lost his mother at a young age, hasn't seen his father for more than a year, just lost his grandparents and witness a murder.

The Story & Writing - As I said before, I thought everything went too smoothly and so, I'm a bit well skeptical that a rescue or search would happen like this. However, the characters and story made up for it - well almost. There was also a lot of expectations and anticipation for this book and although it didn't disappoint me, it didn't surpass my expectations either which is why it didn't get a higher grade. All in all, not the best book by Ms Sala, but not a bad book. As for the writing, well you know I'm biased, so I'm not going to bother :P

The Cover - it's nice and it fits, what else can I ask?

Am I keeping this book? Yes :D

Anything else? I wonder when her next book will come out... and I wonder when she's going to update her website so I get an answer...


  1. Hmmm, I'll have to give this one a try. I've read a number of Dinah McCall books and some of them I've really enjoyed. Jackson Rule for example is a real treat if you haven't read it. But this one sounds pretty good!

  2. Is this a straight suspense or is there any romance. Hey, if I have to suffer with a kid I could use a little romancing - although I'm thinking it's not ;)


  3. Kristie - I liked Jacson Rule and I thought it was a pretty good book :D Did you read The Perfect Lie? I think that one is my favorite Dinah McCall along with Mimosa Grove :) and yeah, you should give this one a chance :D

    Cindy - this book has romance in it, but it's very subtle and it happens quite fast.

  4. I've never read Dinah McCall-or Sharon Sala for that matter. This does sound interesting though. I had a good laugh at all the generations and listing them and their women. LOL

  5. I think you should definitively give her a try Ames :D You're going to like her, I'm sure :D and yeah, at first, I was like: 4 generations?!?! how did she do that? and then, it made sense :D

  6. I've read on Sala title and have been meaning to try others. Is there a dramatic difference between books under each pseudonym? Looks like she writes contemps under both.

    Great review Nath!

  7. Hey Jennifer :D

    Nowadays, there's not much difference between her titles as Sala and her titles as Dinah McCall, there are all romantic suspense. However, I think that originally, her titles as Sala were intended to be more romance than suspense.