The Last Drive by John W. Howell.
Sequel To Eternal Road (Magical Realism).
In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.
The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.
This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.
Review by Elizabeth Gauffreau: 5.0 out of 5 Stars. Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2023. Verified Purchase.
A Sequel Full of Surprises! As the sequel to Eternal Road, The Last Drive by John Howell features the two main characters from the first book: James, a young man who was recently killed in an car accident, and Samantha (Sam), a now-grown friend from James’s childhood, who was murdered when she was seven years old. In Eternal Road, Sam served as James’s spirit guide to help him find his eternal home.
In The Last Drive, Sam has been asked by the Archangel Michael to find Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War I flying ace, and Ryan Sanders, an Air Force pilot who was recently killed in Afghanistan when he stayed in his burning plane to avoid crashing into a civilian settlement. Eddie is serving as Ryan’s spirit guide to find his eternal home; however, the two have gone missing. The Archangel suspects they have crossed paths with Lucifer, who is forever trolling for souls who haven’t yet found their eternal home.
Sam’s response to the Archangel is the same as mine would have been: “ ‘I’m surprised God and yourself don’t keep track of this kind of thing.’ ” Including this exchange in the opening chapter is a good demonstration of Howell’s skill in suspending the reader’s disbelief in the fictional world he has created.
The Archangel’s response to Sam’s question raises thorny questions of free will, predestination, and Divine intervention. These questions hover over the four main characters’ subsequent interactions with Lucifer. In fact, at one point, Sam proposes a deal with the Devil that took me completely by surprise–but was oh, so right.
As the prime mover of villainy, Lucifer chooses to torture Sam, James, Ryan, and Eddie with a series of moral dilemmas by plunking them into horrific historical events, including the sinking of the Titanic, the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. For people who are essentially good, this would be the equivalent of being dangled over a lake of fire by one ankle.
However, the Lucifer of The Last Drive tries to present himself as the charming rogue or, at times, the cartoonish, mustache-twirling villain–all in an attempt to manipulate the souls he is going after into underestimating him.
One aspect of the novel I particularly appreciated was that, although the same afterlife “rules” were carried over from Eternal Road to The Last Drive, new ones were introduced that surprised me, in particular that education continues into the afterlife. Although this feature of the afterlife is used as a plot device to give Sam and James the knowledge they need to extricate themselves from Lucifer’s clutches, I think it’s more than that. If we think of the afterlife as eternal paradise, then it makes perfect sense that the ability to learn and gain new knowledge would be a part of it. Learning for its own sake is, at its heart, a joyous and life-affirming act. (Take THAT, Lucifer.)
To sum up, I found The Last Drive an engaging and satisfying read. The stakes of the plot are high, the action fast-paced, the historical research thorough, and the main characters well-developed and likable (with the exception of Lucifer, of course). In addition to the other surprises I’ve noted, the ending of The Last Drive also surprised me–in the best possible way. I highly recommend this surprising sequel to Eternal Road!
Paperback: 312 Pages
Publisher: Keewaydin Lane Books (December 11, 2022)
Mystery (Action & Adventure)
Thriller & Suspense (Action Fiction)
Religious (Literature & Fiction)
Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell.
James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.
James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.
The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save mankind.
The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.
Paperback: 328 Pages
Publisher: Keewaydin Lane Books (August 24, 2020)
Religious (Literature & Fiction)
About John W. Howell: John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories.
His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the tension. The final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016 concludes the thriller series.
John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a different thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted.
The fifth book is a collaboration with the award-winning author, Gwen Plano titled The Contract. Heavenly bodies become concerned about the stability of the Earth and send two of their own to risk eternal salvation in order to save the planet. The Contract achieved number one status in its genre. John’s latest book is titled Eternal Road – The final stop and launched in September 2020. In search of their eternal home, Sam and James discover a threat to human existence. They also encounter the prince of darkness. The question is; can they save humankind and their eternal souls. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
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