Live from Medicine Park by Constance Squires (Narrated by Tom Burka)

If You Love Music and/or Documentaries This Is For You

4 out of 5 stars

Live From Medicine Park was one of those books where I had to look up if it was based on a true story or it was just fiction. It was a fictional tale but I’ll tell you, it had all the feeling and realism that a real story would have. I truly believe that these characters were real and that their stories were too.

I went into Live From Medicine Park with a completely open mind. I didn’t read the entire synopsis since I wanted the book to surprise me.  Squires was able to tell a story that felt so darn real.  Ray Wheeler as a character was one of those real, aka not perfect main characters that goes on his own journey even though he would tell us he’s trying to film someone else’s. At times during Medicine Park Wheeler wasn’t likable. He ran away or didn’t accept blame from many of his own problems and he wasn’t always the best person. But by the end of the book we’re given a chance to see a different Wheeler who has learned a few things along the way.

The story wasn’t perfectly buttoned up (not exactly a happy ever after) but it had the vibe. I wasn’t sure how Squires was going to finish this one up but I’m glad that she went the route that she did.  It had that “cowboy rides off into the sunset” feel that you got in old Westerns.

Probably one of my only complaints about this book was that it was a bit slow. The storytelling wasn’t slow, but the narration was a bit slow.  Tom Burka did a fine job becoming Ray but his pacing was slower than I’m used to (and I listen to a lot of audiobooks).  Thankfully there is the ability to speed the narration up without losing much of the details – so my “complaint” was easily solved.  Other than his pacing, I thought that he did a nice job bringing Squires’ story to life.

Overall, a really enjoyable audiobook that caught me off guard. A book I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about. A book that I sat down and finished in one day. One that will stick with, especially since I’m a music lover.  If you like “rock-umenataries” or stories about former rock stars or stories about film-making and filmmakers – Live From Medicine Park will be right up your alley.

Book Description:

Live From Medicine Park (smaller cover)

Documentary filmmaker Ray Wheeler is down on his luck. Embroiled in a lawsuit, he is reeling from the consequences of a near-fatal shooting on his last film and has just lost his teaching gig. Broke and beleaguered, he can’t afford to be particular about his next project. So, when a former student invites him to film the comeback of Lena Wells, an iconic rock-and-roll singer who hit it big in the ’70s, more than two decades earlier, he reluctantly agrees, even though he doesn’t like her music.

When Ray arrives at Lena’s hometown of Medicine Park, Oklahoma, a defunct resort community, he is determined to approach his topic with the professional detachment that has guided his career. His work ethic is modeled on the prime directive of Star Trek: Never interfere with an alien civilization. But with only five days left before Lena’s comeback concert, Ray quickly runs afoul of his subject, who places him on a one-week probation. The terms: impress her or else…

It doesn’t take long before Ray violates his own ethical standards. Drawn romantically toward Lena, he also fails to prevent himself from interfering with the lives of the people closest to her, including her only son Gram, whose paternity is a mystery even to himself, her daughter-in-law Jettie, and the enigmatic guitar player Cyril Dodge.

When disaster strikes Ray’s set again, this time in Medicine Park, he must face truths he has avoided for too long about love, relationships, and responsibility.

Live from Medicine Park is a bittersweet reflection on the search for identity and purpose amid tragedy. As the novel reaches its climax, Ray sets out on one last adventure to set things right. Redemption may be possible, but only on its own terms.

Live From Medicine Park by Constance Squires
Narrator: Tom Burka
Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
Published by Self Published on March 17th 2020
Genres: General Fiction

Leave a Reply