Starvation Mountain

Fiction - Thriller - General
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 05/23/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Starvation Mountain is a contemporary fiction thriller written by Robert Gilberg. Jim Schmidt had found his home, his place, on his acreage located on Starvation Mountain. He loved riding the mountains that ranged east of San Diego, and his avocado grove would soon be the site of his retirement home. He wished he had been able to convince Annie to move south when he left Boulder Creek where they had lived together. It was still painful to consider that she had finally agreed to come down for a week just before she died in an awful traffic accident. Now, some years after he had purchased his grove, he was actually getting the plans going for his home. He had been discussing them with his architect when he heard a woman’s voice. She approached him from the small cabin adjoining his land. Her name was Penny Lane, itself a fitting icebreaker of a conversational topic. Like him, she loved to ride, and she actually preferred Jack Daniels to wine. Penny had a problem, however; one that would set the two new friends on a life and death ride across the country.

Robert Gilberg’s contemporary fiction thriller novel, Starvation Mountain, is a panoramic masterpiece that has the reader vicariously enjoying Jim’s mountain rides as well as his and Penny’s Southwestern traveling adventure. Gilberg has a good sense of what desert and some Southern California dwellers love about the open spaces and the merging of past and present that is so omnipresent in the Southwest. His characters fit perfectly within those parameters, and following the two as they get to know each other is great fun. The mystery behind Penny’s dodgy ex-employer and the relentless pursuit the two have to survive keeps the suspense and tension at a high level. Starvation Mountain is a grand read, and it’s most highly recommended.

Grant Leishman

Jim Schmidt is a high-powered computer whiz who decides to take early retirement from the stress of the rat-race and build his dream house at an avocado ranch on Starvation Mountain, near San Diego. Never married, but came close once, Jim is well off and content with his passion and love for owning and riding motorcycles. The mountains around his new house will provide wonderful trails for him to ride. When Jim meets a significantly younger, forty-something, Penny Lane, the connection is instant and enjoyable. Penny is tied up with an old high school buddy who seems to be on the wrong side of the law. Caught up in a vicious drug gang web neither had any intention of getting involved with, Jim and Penny find themselves on a bike ride for their lives, following the old trails of Route 66 as expressed in their favourite movie, Easy Rider. Robert Gilberg brings us Starvation Mountain, a thriller that combines 70’s pop culture with a love of motorcycles and especially Harleys.

Perhaps it’s because I’m of that particular generation, but I certainly found the pop culture references -- Van Morrison, Easy Rider, Steppenwolf, James Dean etc. -- comforting and adding to the story line. As a thriller, Starvation Mountain is pretty standard fare, but the journey is pleasant enough. Robert Gilberg’s two main characters, Jim and Penny, are believable enough and well developed by the author. The dialogue was a little contrived at times and often seemed too formal for a couple, but equally there were humorous and clever moments also in the dialogue. There are no great twists and turns, but I still enjoyed the read, particularly given the subject matter covered. I am sure there are plenty of readers who can also reminisce over the pop culture aspects and will find this, as I did, a satisfying story.