Michael J. Tucker


Author of  Aquarius Falling and Capricorn’s Collapse

1/12/2015 – Book Review: Bear Shadow by John Neely Davis

Winner of the Janice Keck Literary Award for Fiction, when you close this book for the final time after reading the last sentence on the last page you will say to yourself, “This truly is an award winning novel.”

Bear Shadow follows the turbulent seventy-year life journey of Geoff Rydges. Born to an Australian itinerant sheepherder Bear Shadowand an Aborigine woman, he is first abandoned by his mother. Following an arduous and risky sea journey to America, and then a perilous and life threatening cross-country trip he finds himself in East Tennessee, and once again abandoned.

Taken in by a former schoolteacher and her blind and mute husband, a retired judge, Geoff begins a more promising life. It will be a life full of love and hatred, secrets and revelation, success and hardship, evil and revenge.

Mr. Davis weaves a tale of mountain people at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century as they wrestle with themes as current as today’s headlines; bigotry, racism, molestation, incest, and murder. These are mean and violent subjects yet the author skillfully handles them with an intelligence and tenderness that doesn’t offend the reader’s eye.

The title is a reference to a landmark in the story where on only one day of the year, the third of September, a setting sun’s rays hit a mountain profile causing it to cast a shadow in the likeness of a bear’s nose, ears, and front legs. The spot takes on a special meaning in Geoff’s life as he sets out to build a home for himself and his future family.

As a reader you will never regret the hours spent reading this unforgettable story.


About Michael J. Tucker

Michael J. Tucker

Growing up in the cold northern climate of Pittsburgh, PA, and an only child, Mike was often trapped indoors and left to his own devices, where he would create space ships out of cardboard boxes, convert his mother’s ironing board into a horse and put on his Sunday suit and tie and his father’s fedora and become a newspaper reporter or police detective. This experience left him with an unlimited imagination and the ability to write electrifying short stories and novels.

Mike is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, Aquarius Falling and Capricorn’s Collapse. He has also published a collection of short stories entitled, The New Neighbor, and a poetry collection; Your Voice Spoke To My Ear. His poem, The Coyote’s Den, was included in the Civil War Anthology, Filtered Through Time.

He is a judge for the Janice Keck Literary Award, and the moderator of the Williamson County Library Writers’ Critique Group.

Reviewers of Mike’s novels have compared his writing to: Thomas Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, and J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Albert Beckus, Professor Emeritus of Literature at Austin Peay University recently wrote of his novels: “They move naturalistically in the American literary tradition of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, but with a twist…as found in The Great Gatsby.”