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Kevin (Ric) Richardson
John Klawitter, Hollywood writer/director/producer
Hit And Run, a new novel by Dr. Bob Rich, is something quite rare– actually an example of a new genre of novel. Call it EA for Elderly Adult fiction. Call it whatever you will, I call it a brilliantly told story. The protagonist, one Sylvia Kryz, is clever, humane, and gifted as an artist. And one other thing — late in her life, in her mid-eighties, she comes to recognize she has an incredible gift. Her empathetic nature has blossomed into a supernatural talent to connect with a troubled young man in ways both frightening and wonderful. Five Stars, a simply Must Read for mature adults of all ages.
Normally, I read a book and the euphoria I receive from it wanes and the details fade, even though I remember it was a good read. However, Hit and Run joins a special class of books that will have you reflecting on it long after the last page. The author deftly uses his psychology background in molding the characters and their dialogues. While there is some raw language, the story’s impact would not have been the same without it.
The character, Mrs. Kryz, is loving, with an incredible capacity for patience. She communicates best through her artful drawings. The other main character, Charlie, is a young lad raised in a physically and verbally abusive environment who has given up on the world. Yet, their contradictory personalities find resolution from a tragedy that only fate could have devised. Both come across as believable characters, although there are paranormal aspects between them.
From the very first pages, the author moves the reader steadily along turning a tragic event into a positive experience for the remainder of the book. In my opinion, whether by design or luck, it was a skill that few can equal. My hat is off to Dr. Bob for taking me on a journey that called for me to reflect on my own relationships and consider how I could make them better. Bob should be named ambassador for ‘good will’ and even though he presents a work of fiction, it could easily substitute as a professional’s text book. I believe everyone that reads his book with an open mind will come away richer for turning the pages. I highly recommend this book for its emotional appeal — and I already miss Mrs. Kryz.
This story gripped me right from the first few lines.
Mrs. Sylvia Kryz, AKA The Old Duck, is an 84 year old lady who is almost bowled over by a car driven by 14 year old Charlie Debnall (Chuck, a derogative term given to him by his mother because she chucked up all the way through her pregnancy). Naomi, the school crossing lady, and six children are killed.
Charlie is an angry boy who had been brutalized by his mother’s numerous drunken and druggie boyfriends. The only person he cares about is his 6 year old brother, Tommy.
Everyone hates Charlie, but under the influence of Mrs Kryz who believes there is good in the boy, a cavalcade of colourful characters pass through the story and become staunch allies in Mrs. Kryz’s attempts to save Charlie from himself. They include Mrs Kyz’s family; Vlad Stavrou, the psychologist from Victim’s Services; Reverend Martin, a Uniting Church Minister who was jailed for murdering his sister’s rapist, but found God; and Brigitte, so full of hate after her husband left her that she alienated her children.
There are several themes skilfully woven into this story: love, hate, revenge, redemption and second chances. The story is almost brutal in parts, but so vividly portrayed I could feel the hatred, hear the vile language used by Charlie’s slovenly, alcoholic mother and Brutal Bruce, his latest stepfather. They sent shivers of distaste along my spine. Tommy, the six year old brother, was naughty and foul-mouthed, but somehow endearing just the same.
The most incredible part of this story was the parts where Charlie and Mrs. Kryz had telepathic meetings with each other. I am not into this psychic type of thing as a rule, but the events were so brilliantly executed, they were plausible even to an unbeliever like me.
Hard to say much more without spoiling the story, but believe me when I say, if you want a great read, this it. A Word of caution though. Make sure you have enough time to read it at the one sitting, because like me, you won’t want to put it down until you have devoured every word.
Silvia Kryz, an eighty-four year old Australian woman, witnesses the mass slaughter of a crossing guard and “six lovely little children, none over seven.” Steps away from being killed by the murderous vehicle, she survives, a huge plus for the killer.
Charles Debnall, angry at life and everyone living, is responsible for the carnage. Raised by an alcoholic mother and abusive boyfriends, Charles doesn’t go to school, is dependent on alcohol and drugs, and has a vocabulary that would make a nun blush. He was named Chuck by his mother because, “I made mother chuck all through pregnancy.”
Amazingly, a psychic link between Charles and Silvia is formed soon after the massacre. At first Mrs. Kryz is appalled by the murdering teen appearing in her mind any time of day or night. Through the assistance of psychologist Vlad Stavrou, Silvia works through the shock of her experience and provides therapeutic love to a child that never experienced a caring soul during his short fourteen years of life.
Dr. Bob Rich’s novel, Hit and Run, is told from Silvia Kryz’s first person point of view. In the novel, the author shows the miracles that can happen when a community comes together to support a psychologically depressed teen.
Rich’s book is inspiring and contains a strong believable plot and well-defined characters. The setting for the story came up short in this reviewer’s mind. More description of the city and Australian countryside would have added an extra coat of texture to this otherwise finely crafted novel. Its subject matter is rarely seen in literature and is opt to warm any reader’s heart.
This is an absolutely phenomenal read which, unusually for me, I read in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. Each of the characters seem to actually walk off the page. I cannot recommend this book highly enough — it is one of the best books I have ever read.
Dr. Bob Rich’s novel, “Hit and Run” was so interesting that I could not put it down. I started reading it late in the evening, and, throwing common sense to the winds, stayed up all the night reading it.
The story of redemption and of how love conquers hate was inspiring. Watching the language of Charles and Tommy go from containing many expletives to being more civilized and seeing how they learned and recovered from each relapse was worthwhile. And they were not the only people in the book to be rescued from hate.
The book was refreshingly realistic about how people in authority, such as clergy, bureaucrats, and police, were a mixture of good and bad. It also showed how difficult it is to get through a bureaucracy, even when the intentions of everyone involved are blameless.
Sylvia Kryz was a jewel of compassion who always had baked goods and a pot (jug?) of tea to share. This reviewer aspires to be so compassionate.
Finally the book gave me a little insight into Australian life. Sadly the criminals are just as bad as in the United States. At least they don’t have the easy access to guns that United States people do. In the States, Bruce would have had a gun.
Margaret Goodman, retired computer programmer in the United Sates, AKA Trumpistan.
When an 84-year-old woman witnesses the vicious mowing down of six small children and their crossing supervisor and is nearly run over as well, she finds herself having to deal with strange “visitations” from the young murderer. The resulting relationship leads her on a journey of peaks and valleys that changes her entire community.
Hit and Run is the well-told tale of the courage of a community, the wisdom of age, and the healing power of love. It will move you to tears as it moves you into the purpose of your true heart. Expect to be enlightened.
Yvonne is the author of an amazing chapter in my book, Cancer: A personal challenge. She was a beta reader for Hit and Run
Dr. Bob Rich has produced, in Hit and Run, a deeply psychological work with paranormal aspects. His belief in reincarnation is also crucial to the plot, especially in the early phases. Dr. Rich portrays the influence of a crippled old lady on a young monster from the slums, Charlie Debnall, who had run over and killed six very young school children and their Street Crossing Guard, barely missing the old lady. She helps the police identify and capture the culprit, but then, rather than treating him with hatred and fear, old Sylvia begins to reform him, partly through their telepathic meetings, partly through the intervention of the wise psychologist, Dr. Vlad. Sylvia’s influence permeates the entire community affected by Charlie’s murderous act, until grief and loathing are turned into compassion and love. The community works together to redeem Charlie, and their efforts are wonderfully successful. The author assures us that such successes have happened — are happening — in the real world, and the reader is uplifted, knowing that, despite our usual cynicism, such rescues are possible. This book is a paean of praise to light in the darkness, to the power of love to conquer all. It is a call to go forth and do likewise.
Florence Weinberg is a retired professor of French and Spanish language and literature, specializing in the Renaissance, and a multi-award-winning writer of historical fiction. Many of her books have a crime or mystery theme. She is my ultimate authority on all things grammatical. We beta read each other’s books.
Most normal people feel horrified and sickened by a senseless crime, particularly one committed against defenceless children. The crime in Bob Rich’s book Hit and Run is one such act of savagery and one that cries out for justice. Where this story differs from the usual crime and punishment tale, however, is in the thoughts and actions of one old lady who witnessed the deaths and came near to becoming a victim herself. Rather than give in to a desire for vengeance against the heartless perpetrator, she is moved to forgive the young man and try to understand his motivation.
What follows is a startling account of what can happen when good people decide to show love instead of the all too easy desire for vengeance and retribution. Forgiveness is not an easy path to follow, and several members of the community are reluctant to show mercy to the young man who wantonly killed so many young children. It is a cliché that “no man is an island unto himself” but like it or not we are each of us alone in our thoughts and inner torments — but what if we were not? Young Charlie Debnall, his character warped and twisted by horrific circumstances and a terrible upbringing, finds his ‘island’ connected by a causeway to the old lady he almost killed — Sylvia Kryz. This connection opens up possibilities that he had never imagined and leads to him turning his life around and taking the first steps on the long road to becoming a worthwhile member of society.
This is a simple story yet also a complex one with a wide array of characters on both sides of the ledger. Some people actively work against Charlie’s rehabilitation; others refuse to even give him a chance, but a growing number believe in the possibility of change and it is heartening to see the gradual blossoming of a mind stunted by terrible circumstances. Hit and Run is a story of hope in a world where it sometimes seems as if civilisation is crumbling around us.
Max Overton was my first-ever editing client. His writing has soared since, and he has written several magnificent award-winners. He writes in a variety of genres, including excellent historical fiction in times as varied as that of Alexander the Great, Ancient Egypt, and the Second World War.
Some time ago I was walking in a park in Amsterdam. I came across a fantastical small sculpture. Below it was a sign that read “If you believe in magic, you will find it.”
It was uplifting. And that sign came to mind as I read Bob Rich’s uplifting book. Using some of the magic realism style pioneered by Latin American authors such as Garcia Marques, Hit and Run seamlessly blends the magical with the real in a way that one doesn’t know quite where one ends and the other starts.
The book shows a remarkable faith in the essential goodness of human nature. With love, kindness, patience, cleverness and a belief in the possible, Sylvia Kryz manages to find and bring to the fore the essential goodness of kids like Chuck (the mass murderer) and his brother Thomas whom many had given up as hopeless criminals. She manages to delve into the hearts of the victims’ families to find compassion where there only seemed to be a desire for vengeance.
In a world where violence is a fact of life and where the mantra that ‘the only protection from gun violence is more guns’ has become commonplace, Hit and Run offers an alternative prescription. It is a book that provides hope that there is another way. Finding that way will not be easy. As the book clearly shows, our whole bureaucratic system is designed to meet violence with violence and to assume only the worst about people. But this book motivates us all to try in our own little way.
Dr Joe Zammit-Lucia calls himself “The Intersectionist:”
“Previously a physician, entrepreneur and consultant to senior management. Now a leadership advisor, artist, author and commentator. Intersectionist — working at the intersection of disciplines on organizational success, resilience and sustainability in our chaotic postmodern world and unpredictable socio-political-environmental situations. I am, irritatingly, a compulsive contrarian, taking seriously Lyotard’s idea of finding ways to resist the complacent certainties of the expert.
His latest book is The Death of Liberal Democracy? with David Boyle, a powerful analysis of politics.
It is indeed a rare event for me to read a book twice in a row… third time just doesn’t happen, but in this case the rule was broken.
Hit and Run is a book full of meaning and valuable insights into living a fuller life, but even without those, it’s a bloody good yarn! The people are so clearly depicted, you can see them, they move, they have feelings and ideas, agonies and pain, love and courage. The story line goes along smoothly and quickly with never a dull moment, never a loss of plot or a fault in the planning of the events. There is no pulling back, there is language and violence and no pretty pictures glossing over the tragic images, but there are wonderful moments, emotional moments that one can’t help but recognize and feel.
It is a momentous story of courage and strength from everyone involved and a story of healing that goes way beyond the norm, and yet makes such total cool sense.
Bypass this novel and you will have missed an open door, one you should walk through.
Writing as Rosamond Carter, Carolyn is an old comrade in sharing caring. She has been internet mother for thousands of women affected by breast cancer, and has often used hypnosis to help resolve trauma, sometimes by facilitating past life recalls. I have benefited from this service of hers. I have edited all of her books.
Originally I was going to write a detailed and long review of Bob Rich’s book Hit and Run, but decided against this for the reason that it is better to present my understanding of the important messages of the book in a broader sense.
I could not put the book down once I started to read it. What caught my interest and curiosity was the presentation of human nature, in all of its forms and qualities, through characters that are very real to life, as are their stories.
This book is the best work that I have read of Bob Rich. The message is simple: forgiveness, kindness, mutual support and understanding, among many other good qualities, are the key to a better social world.
This book shows, in very realistic terms, how it is always possible to help the hardest criminal to become a better person, to abandon her or his cruel ways, which spring mostly from traumatic early experiences. Criminal behavior is often a response to early negative life experiences. There are many important messages in this book, not least the fact that older people are valuable members of society and that their wisdom often leads to a better understanding of problems and events.
I feel that this book is of the level of great novels. I am very proud of being Bob’s friend and I feel that this book deserves to be read by all people. It is a story that tells us much about life and from which we can all learn.
There is no doubting my mind that there is a bit of “Charlie” in all of us and that with wisdom, humility, and hard work, we can overcome the many existential challenges that we face each day. We should remember that many older people can show us the way towards a better understanding of life and in this sense deserve much more respect than we currently offer them in our still primitive world.
Alfredo Zotti‘s main passion is to fight stigma against disadvantaged people, particularly those lumbered with a diagnosis of a mental disorder. He and I have collaborated on many projects, and I’ve edited all his books. He is also a talented musician and artist.
I was hooked from the moment the old woman began telling her story to the psychologist who had been assigned to her case. Though still shaken, there wasn’t a hint of dementia in her demeanor and then there was the lovely coincidence that she might draw a mug shot of this criminal she had just encountered — a talent she was apparently born with that had served her well over the years — and a hint of Aussie exuberance that comes through in her voice.
Honestly, Mrs. Kryz’s story [Hit and Run] gave me chills that mounted in the first chapter that includes a surreal dream of the criminal she has just fingered, his face much like Cheshire cat coming to her in the night, and a hint that all may not be as it seems. It turns out Mrs. Kryz has other talents of which she seems comfortably unaware. She may become my favorite literary character and yours, too. This may become your favorite cross between a literary and paranormal driven novel. It certainly is mine! I have never seen a hook more perfectly crafted.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a multi award-winning novelist and poet and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. She was an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program for nearly a decade. Learn more about all her books at her Amazon profile.
Is it possible for a hell-bent teenager to turn himself around?
In this story, we see a drug crazed, typical inner city youth, tired of being alive at the age of fourteen. He is angry at the world and determined to take a lot of innocent people out with him. When Charlie Debnall drives an out of control car into a group of elementary school children as they attempt to cross the street, it unleashes a chain of events which eventually lead to total and complete transformation from the inside out. Not only are school children and the crossing supervisor brutally murdered, but aging Sylvia Kraz, also attempting to cross the street with the aid of her wheelie walker, narrowly misses her demise at the hands of Charlie.
Sylvia gets a good glimpse of Charlie’s face, making eye contact, as he speeds by leaving carnage in his wake. With her uncanny artistic abilities, she sketches his face then experiences Charlie appearing to her in her bedroom through mental telepathy. Her drawing of his face leads to his arrest and yet the visits continue. Sylvia’s psychologist assists her in working through her traumatic brush with death and guides her into a past life regression which establishes her connection to Charlie. When Sylvia agrees to help look after Charlie’s little brother, Tommy, a bond of trust is formed.
Over the course of the story, we see a collage of characters all woven together with one goal in mind and that is to help Charlie and his little brother, Tommy, break the pattern of abuse and learn to be good decent humans. What they don’t realize is that they are all growing and learning in the process of helping the boys.
This is a touching story which brings to light paranormal activity and past life connections and how those connections continue to weave through each lifetime.
A fascinating read, that keeps you turning one page after the other, and holding your breath when Charlie “stuffs up,” as he calls it.
This is a great story with a message of hope and inspiration. Love wins.
I edited all the books in Jan Sikes‘ award-winning series honouring the life of her husband Rick Sikes, a Texan musician of note, who was falsely imprisoned. This fictionalised account is excellent reading.
Hit and Run is an absorbing psychological story about a boy killer, with the added touch of paranormal. The book is told from the point of view of an old lady, Sylvia Kryz, who narrowly missed being killed by Charlie (aka Chuck) Debnall, when children and the ‘lollypop’ lady at the crossing were hit and killed by Charlie in a stolen car.
It is also an intriguing tale of the power of love and forgiveness versus the power of hate and evil. Sylvia’s paranormal contact with Charlie begins an influential and eventually close relationship with the troubled teenager. The families of Charlie’s victims learn to forgive and actually assist her to help Charlie, whilst he is on bail before his court hearing for murder. Her tale involves the assistance of Dr Vlad, a psychologist, to help Charles. Can they all help Charlie to reform, or will he succumb to the way he was brought up — to “Hit and Run”?
A fascinating read!
Wendy Laing is the author of 9 books, with 3 more soon to be published. The latest book, Tarmac Tales, was co-authored with her husband, Dave, who sadly passed away recently. She is published in varied genres including crime, mystery/paranormal, humour, children’s books, and poetry, and has a Masters degree with a thesis on electronic & digital publication of creative writing.
Uplifting and Empowering. Hit and Run is an interesting and uplifting story written in a simple declarative style that’s well-suited to the imaginary diary of a most unlikely spiritual leader. Without understanding the paranormal phenomenon, Sylvia, the elderly hero, communicates with pure hatred by employing unconditional love, thereby defeating the evil that had infected a community of vengeful victims.
The first scene is powerful and could possibly trigger a reader’s moral anger, but as the author implements sound psychological practice true to his profession, reader anger subsides and surprisingly leads to empathy. This story does a great job of using fiction to speak truth about intergenerational violence and its hopeful remediation.
At first, I found the modification of profanity true to the colloquial voice of some characters objectionable. I suppose that the technique was used to tone down violation of comfort zones, especially the “F Word.” I got used to it and read the profanity as was intended by the characters. No biggie.
While reading, I found some of the back story needless, but after I let the story digest for a couple of days I realized that I was engaged and wanted to know what would happen next in the story, perhaps in too big of a hurry. The back stories did contribute to how each character processed hatred toward acceptance — examples of individualized barriers to pursuits of happiness. This is not an action packed, pure escapist novel and does require processing time after reading it to achieve maximum impact. And, that seems to be the overall purpose — impact on one’s thinking about love and hate, a psychological treatment plan for those who need it the most — everybody. Thanks.
I recommend Hit and Run as a perfect read for those stuck in skepticism and negativity, and who are willing to invest a little time to work toward inner peace. As such, I give it five stars.
Robert Eggleton works with traumatised children in an impoverished location. His science fiction/fantasy Rarity from the Hollow naturally deals with such issues, but with the same kind of humour as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
I loved this novel Hit & Run. It’s well written with the right amount of twists and turns to keep the reader interested till the end. The story entails an 84-year-old grandmother, Sylvia, who through her wisdom (and a bit of supernatural help) turns around the attitude of a young mass murderer, Chuck (or Charles as he becomes).
Written by psychologist Dr. Bob Rich, the story enables him to provide positive personal change models through the voice of Sylvia as she ‘contacts’ Charles and assists many other people from the time of the murders through to Charles’ final sentencing. I liked how these messages were done in a simple way that people can use themselves, clear of perhaps the scientific or psychological language of the original research. Very clever.
There are only three, what I would call overt learning points — how to handle mistakes, how to be an assertive communicator, and relapse prevention (from changing an old habit or addiction). These are all given as sage advice from the Psychologist in the story, Dr. Vlad. The many remaining learning points are cunningly conveyed through Sylvia’s dialogue.
An entertaining and cleverly designed learning tool for anyone who may be considering a change in their life. A good read with an ingenious plot. 5 stars.
Bob Selden is a guide on how to use words to improve your life. This is the theme of his nonfiction book, Don’t: How using the right words will change your life.
Hit and Run is a moving story that opens with a devastating accident that takes the lives of six children, all under the age of seven, and a school crossing supervisor. The closest witness to the accident is an elderly woman, Sylvia Kryz, whose life was spared due to her inability to keep up with the children. Mrs. Kryz describes the horrors of the devastation not only by words but with sketches that help the police identify the perpetrator of this crime. The author, Dr. Bob Rich, paints vivid descriptions that will capture readers and fill them with enormous sympathies for the families.
This tale of compassion examines human feelings of grief, despair, hope, love, hate and forgiveness. Sylvia Kryz, affectionately known as “the old duck” or “Aunt Sylvia,” is the instrument for creating understanding of a young man, 14 years of age, who committed the despicable crime and who has known nothing but abuse and hatred in his world, a world filled with violence.
After Aunt Sylvia reaches out to the families who lost children, the reader sees resistance and acceptance that eventually lead to an understanding of the young man, Chuck, who has a background of no education and no understanding of what true love means. The only affection he has experienced is for a younger brother. Their bond is strong.
Aunt Sylvia makes a supernatural connection with Chuck that allows her to see his emotional state as the story progresses.
This novel demonstrates that so much can be accomplished with love, understanding, and perseverance. It is timely and a great read.
Betty Gordon writes entertaining crime fiction. She searches for common threads within her own life to fold into her mystery novels and short stories. Find out more about Betty’s novels and short stories at her website.
Hit and Run starts off with a tragedy. A young 14-year-old man, Chuck, speeds down a street and blows through a crosswalk killing several children and almost killing an 84-year-old woman, Mrs. Kryz. He was drunk, high and carried the attitude that he didn’t care who he hurt, including himself. He was arrested and put in jail. Then the most interesting thing happened. Somehow, he was able to communicate with Mrs. Kryz, and he didn’t even have to physically be there to do so.
I won’t ruin the story for those who haven’t read it but the gist of the story is that through this communication, Mrs. Kryz was able to reach this young man in a way no one ever took the time to before. She gave him one thing he wasn’t expecting.
Mrs. Kryz was able to break through the very strong and high walls that Chuck had built around himself. She took the time to figure out where all of his anger stemmed from and why someone so young would want to harm others around him and, most specifically, himself. He didn’t seem to care what came out of his mouth, how disrespectful he acted or how harmful his actions were to others. But Mrs. Kryz saw something no one else took time to see.
Through kindness and unconditional love that he’d never experienced before her, Mrs. Kryz was able to break through his tough exterior, reaching down to the promising youth underneath. She discovered the reasons for his self-hatred and negative perspective of the world and helped him see there was good in him. Even his name, Chuck, was representative of the horrible abuse he went through right up to where he was until he committed his crime. When he opened up about his love and concern for his younger brother, Tommy, she knew there was hope. There was love in this young man.
For the next year, Mrs. Kryz did all that was within her power and capability (considering she was an elderly woman who struggled to get around most of the time) to set things on a better path for Chuck (or as Mrs. Kryz deemed him, Charlie) and Tommy. She pleaded to a grieving community that anger and retaliation was not the way to set things right. By allowing others to see Charlie through her eyes, as a very troubled youth who saw the err of his ways and truly wanted to make a difference, the people rallied around these boys to help get them to where they deserved to be. That didn’t mean Charlie’s actions were forgotten.
He knew and understood what his actions caused and he felt tremendous remorse. And he did everything Mrs. Kryz (who he affectionally called ‘Aunt Sylvia’) advised him to do. He was never made to do anything she suggested. All she did was guide him, teach him why kindness worked better than anger and that in order to rise above his own troubled past, he had to feel he deserved to be there.
In helping these boys, taking them out of the terrible situation they were in and giving them opportunities to go down a better path, it somehow brought every other person in the community to a different light.
I loved this story very much. I’m usually drawn to thrillers and mysteries but I hold a special place in my heart for stories such as this that elicit hope and bring certain issues to light in such an honest, open and ‘real’ way. There was no harping on what the boys had gone through. There was no message of ‘forgive and forget,’ but more ‘remember but find a positive way to cope.’ And I loved that no matter how low a youth may allow themselves to go, all they are waiting for (whether they realize it or not) is that one person who believes in them and helps them to see they are worthy, wanted and mean something.
We all need an Aunt Sylvia in our lives. Bless her kind, selfless soul to bits.
I have to say, though, every time I picked the book back up, I craved a cup of tea. There were a lot of conversations over tea in this story. It reminded me of my afternoon teas with my grandma. I guess that’s part of the comfort for me in the whole story.
Take the time to read Hit and Run. You won’t be disappointed.
Chynna Laird is a mother of four, a freelance writer, blogger, editor and award-winning author. Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), mental and/or emotional struggles and other special needs. She’s authored two children’s books, two memoirs, a parent-to-parent resource book, a Young Adult novella, a Young Adult paranormal/suspense novel series, two New Adult contemporary novels and an adult suspense/thriller.
We live in troubled times. All around us, in country after country, people do unspeakable things. What is particularly heinous is when a young person lashes out, killing others. Thus begins this book.
Charlie, at fourteen, has given up on life and himself, and decides to share his pain by running his car through a crosswalk of children, killing a number of them and narrowly missing an elderly woman, Sylvia, in the process. Soon after the traumatizing event, Sylvia begins to have initially unwelcome paranormal contact with Charlie. Through these contacts Sylvia is allowed a window into Charlie’s past and the ugly forces that shaped his choices, and Charlie learns that not all adults are there to abuse him.
This story highlights the redemptive power of love, acceptance, kindness, and loving accountability. It shows that even when we have good reason to hate, we can choose to love and to guide others rather than punish them. It promotes looking more deeply into others to find the hurtful events that create negative attitudes and behaviors. And it encourages us to turn our own pain into something positive, rather than allow it to fester and injure us further from the inside out.
These lessons are layered within a story that focuses on the here and now, day to day transformations occurring within multiple characters as they face the aftermath of violent choices and loss. The conversations feel legitimate, and the characters could be our next door neighbors. One is left wishing that our real world could mirror the change in beliefs and attitudes shown within the story. As a person who believes in redemption and the ability to change, I recognize it often does not happen with the fluidity and speed seen in this story, but it would be a lovely world if it could.
The paranormal qualities to the story were not distracting from the reality of events. They were used in ways to make important points, and were not belabored to the point of taking away from the main plot, which appeared to accurately represent today’s youth and our troubled world.
This is a solid read which encourages readers to ponder our tendency to rush to judgment, and hand out consequences, without regard to what life influences someone has endured before doing something hurtful or incomprehensible. The psychological background of the author adds an element of authenticity to the sections of the story where Charlie is helped to understand what drove his decision and how he might change, to avoid being held hostage to those influences. Anyone who has experienced similar life events would find much encouragement within those parts of the novel.
“Hit and Run” is a story of many things, and starts as an intersection of lives through a tragic event. But instead of treading the usual “police evidence ground” to uncover the antagonist, we meet him in a most unusual way. I’ll say nothing more to limit the spoilers, but suffice to say, this book took me on a journey I’d never taken before. Which was refreshing! And it held my interest to the end, so combined with the excellent, cliche-free writing and the imaginative tale — and honestly, most of all, the characters — this warrants a solid 5 stars.
Congrats and Very well done!!
Kevin (Ric) Richardson
Another 5 Stars for Bob Rich. He’s done it again, a wonderful tale with many, as usual, messages leading us to good advice on social manners.
At fourteen-years-old, Chuck had had enough with the mountains of trash life has dumped on him. His rage ignited and he plowed a stolen vehicle through a group of young children, a cross guard and narrowly missed eighty-four-year-old Sylvia Kryz in the process. It would be Sylvia’s drawing that pointed to young Chuck’s capture, but it would be her compassion and a mysterious supernatural link that may be the only thing to save both Chuck and his young brother from the Hell their lives have been.
Able to communicate mentally, Sylvia will find that underneath the tough veneer, the uneducated boy has a heart of gold, if only he can be given a chance to thrive outside of the cesspool that was his life.
Hit and Run by Bob Rich is a tale of the pain and self-hate of one teen in crisis that society forgot to take care of. Out of sight, out of mind, until an elderly woman gives him what he craves, a chance, an ally, someone who believes in him.
Do you believe in miracles or things happening for a reason? There is a reason that Charlie and Sylvia connected beyond the normal plane of existence. Can Sylvia prove to both Charlie and the world around him that he has value, that he has heart and that just maybe he is as much a victim as those he killed? Will the love and support of a frail octogenarian give a young teen a push in the right direction? Will her efforts also change the hearts of the society around them both?
Sylvia is an amazing character filled with decades of life experiences and the wisdom to look beyond the surface without fear of going against the grain of the world around her. I’m not sure Bob Rich could have created a better spokesperson for caring and compassion, for valuing the wisdom of those who years of life experiences. She had the strength to stand alone, something that seems lost in today’s mentality that craves acceptance or condemns without offering up a possible solution.
My heart went out to Charlie and his young brother, Tommy, both innocents who never knew real love or security or even boundaries.
Emotionally gut-wrenching, uplifting and powerfully charged, Hit and Run was clearly created from the very soul of its author and Bob Rich has a story that should be on every reader’s shelf and in every library. It is a story of love and the power it gives for change and for hope for a better future, leaving the past behind. The world needs more Sylvias, maybe there would be fewer Chucks.
Sylvia Kryz or Aunt Sylvia as she comes to be called, is no ordinary old woman. After witnessing a terrible incident where 6 children and a crossing guard were deliberately hit and killed by a young man in a vehicle, she begins to have graphic nightmares. After meeting with Dr Vlad Stavrou, the psychologist sent by Victims’ Services, Sylvia’s nightmares begin to be supplanted by a psychic connection with the driver of the vehicle, and through her exceptional memory and drawing skills she is able to lead police to the killer. Charlie turns out to be only fourteen years old, and badly abused, and Sylvia begins to develop an affinity with Charlie that goes back further than she can begin to imagine. This affinity has a snowball effect not just on Charlie’s and Sylvia’s life but on the lives of all the people around Sylvia, including the grieving families of victims.
Throughout the book the first person narration remains lively and engaging. The reader is pulled into the story from the opening line, and the story progresses quickly, as we follow the uncanny connection between Charlie and Sylvia. The characters are well-drawn and in spite of a hefty dose of the paranormal, are quite believable, even in their dramatic transformation. The book is built on a strong and clear message, which is a vitally important one that remains absolutely relevant: compassion and understanding is the only way to conquer hate and fear. Rich presents this message through the actions of Sylvia, showing just how powerful this counter-intuitive sympathy is in changing hearts and therefore changing society.
Hit and Run blurs genre boundaries and pulls in in a very wide range of influences including the paranormal, spiritual practices, philosophy (eastern and western), religion (also eastern and western), presenting a coming-of-age tale with the pace and plot of a mystery. The book is full of psychology, as you might expect from Rich, a former psychologist, and a likely model for Dr Stavrou. The transformation of Charlie and his younger brother Tommy is fairly extraordinary, but Rich manages the arc well, drawing on a spiritual tradition and sense of empathy that is brought into the book subtly.
Sylvia is a wonderful character and it’s a delight to find a heroine who is older, drawing on her innate wisdom and capability to heal everyone she comes in contact with, while solving any number of problems around her. Sylvia is not only deeply perceptive, but also a good cook who seems to provide a continual supply of homemade biscuits and fresh brewed leaf tea. Her approach is not only affirmative in the context of the story, but also serves as a parable for the reader too, gently reminding us that hatred begets hatred and that even the most hateful of characters have something that is fuelling the anger. Hit and Run is an inspiring story with an important message that will appeal to readers of all ages.
Dr. Rich’s latest book Hit & Run is a compelling read right from the opening paragraph to its final word. It tells the story of an enraged and out of control 14 year old boy named Chuck (Charles) who purposely runs over and kills 6 innocent children, as well as their crossing supervisor. Fortunately, he narrowly missed an 84 year old woman named Sylvia who becomes the most pivotal character in the story. Ironically, it is Sylvia who is able to establish a paranormal relationship with the young perpetrator. This leads us on an unexpected journey toward healing and redemption that not only benefits the boy, but also the families that have suffered unfathomable loss, and the greater community.
The beauty of Dr. Rich’s writing is that he comes at it from a psychological and societal perspective. In fact, Dr. Rich is a retired psychologist. His professional wisdom and narrative sensibilities shine through his writing. This is especially true through the engrossing and developing dialogue between Sylvia and Charles, as well as how the psychologist Dr. Vlad is able to provide needed counseling to help others deal with the very real impact of trauma and loss on their lives.
This novel is a testament to the power of love, and Sylvia becomes our ultimate guide.
All who have their lives touched by Sylvia’s loving spirit eventually learn compassion for others… even those who have been so hurt that they have experienced profound anger, despair, and hatred. Hit & Run is a story well worth reading in that it helps us to embrace love over hate, thereby raising our social consciousness.
Author of the following books: Homeless Narratives & Pretreatment Pathways (2010), Pretreatment Guide for Homeless Outreach & Housing First (2013), Cross-cultural Dialogues on Homelessness (2018) — Edited by Jay S. Levy with Robin Johnson .
I enjoyed reading Hit and Run, an intriguing Speculative Fiction story of how an elderly woman helped inspire change for the better in the life of a young boy who deliberately killed children and a crossing-guard in a school zone. The story wove through the ups and downs of how after changing, people will fall back into their old patterns. I love the different speech patterns of the characters in the story. Charlie and Aunt Silvia grab your heartstrings and don’t let go.
This is Bob Rich’s best work that I’ve read.
Hit and Run starts with a mad punch right to the gut, reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange in how absurdly surreal — yet strangely compelling — it is. But then it takes a wildly unexpected turn.
Instead, it is a book about questioning the very nature of good and evil. To what extent are we good or evil by nature, by nurture, or by choice? And then one begins to question the nature of evil at all — are the ‘evil’ merely sick (in the truest sense) and in need of help? Can the sickness that lies in each of us — greater or smaller — be ever cured?
It is a book that shows rather than tells: it grips you in the story and explores its themes using the story rather than by taking breaks to preach at you (think War and Peace as the contrast). It is through seeing absolutely radical human kindness and strength — that we know is within our reach if we cultivate the wisdom and compassion inside ourselves — that we are led to question what we know about good and evil, about justice and retribution, and about the capacity to heal.
Hit And Run by Dr. Bob Rich demonstrates how the world would be a much better place if we could stop the “endless cycle of hate begets hate, vengeance leads to vengeance, and violence feeds on itself.” The premise of the story of 84-year-old Sylvia Kryz helping a troubled 14-year-old boy, Charlie, is a call-out to readers to consider if “love can turn hate into love.” She spearheads a movement to help the boy who intentionally ran over elementary age school children and the crossing guard and killed them, narrowly missing Sylvia, and then drove off.
What a heinous act! Who in the world could ever forgive this malicious behavior? Who could defend Charlie’s wanton destruction of lives?
Sylvia could. Accepting there are people in this world like Sylvia was difficult for me. She took his side once she learned about Charlie’s upbringing and understood the motive for his behavior. I especially enjoyed the paranormal visits to Sylvia by Charlie. Suspend your disbelief and accept it because those scenes really make the story sparkle. The author included a lot of detail in the book about the legal steps needed to defend Charlie and about Sylvia’s family to deepen the reader’s bond with Sylvia. As I read, I questioned if this book was based on a true story. Could there be real people like Sylvia? Sylvia’s actions inspire readers. But did her heroic efforts prove that love is greater than hate? Not telling. Grab this novel and hang on for an emotional roller-coaster ride through the pages.
Bob Rich asked me to review his book, Hit and Run . After a very brief review of what type of book it was, I decided to review it. Very quickly into the book, I was both pleasantly surprised and hooked. While it is a fiction book, Rich weave a significant amount of psychology into it. There was also a touch of the supernatural. I really enjoyed the story and was eager to dive back into it every chance I could.
Hit and Run is 329 pages arranged across 36 chapters. The story is about a young teenager who intentionally killed a number of children. This was driven in a large part because of the environment that he grew up in. This naturally begs the question, are our actions because of nature or nurture? This is a prominent theme throughout the entire book. I thought it was masterfully weaved into the story.
One of the things that impressed me the most in the book was the use of dialogue. I was fascinated by how Rich used dialogue to tell the story while staying true to each of the characters. Each character had traits and background that influenced how they spoke. For example, the teenager at the center of the story underwent a transformation throughout the story and his dialogue changed. Through his dialogue, one could appreciate the change taking place.
Another part of the book that I was fascinated by was the use of supernatural powers. Rich used the power of telepathy or a variant as a way to keep the story moving. I will not go into more detail because I do not want to diminish the story for you but this ability was a key and useful part of the story. Certain characters developed an important bond because of this ability that helped with a character transformation.
Finally, I thought the ending was great. I will definitely leave that as a surprise. It will leave you wondering.
I don’t usually read novels, but I’m glad I read Hit and Run by Dr. Bob Rich. Within the first several sentences, you’re hooked.
The book is about a 14 year old boy who commits a heinous multi-murder, of mostly children. But what’s fascinating is how Dr. Rich is able to convey the human side of this boy. How he is able to have you end up rooting for the boy. It’s amazing.
And, being a psychologist, Dr. Rich manages to seamlessly weave in tidbits of wisdom to live by.
The story is a page-turner with an intriguing super-natural spin. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Karen Cioffi, award-winning children’s author and ghostwriter.
As a teenager, I struggled to adapt to the demands of my society. I was angry and contrarian to a fault. Though I never lashed out violently against other people, I always knew there was a fundamental misalignment between me and the rest of the world. It was only after several years of travel and transformational experiences, including learning from elders with unique wisdom, that I found my place and a way to move forward purposefully.
Hit and Run tells a story that, though extreme in execution, should be familiar to every unsettled youth in the world. Likewise, it should ring true with the older parents and mentors of these troubled youths, who wish only to see them shine and bloom before it is too late. Most of all, Hit and Run should leave you inspired that there is always hope for change and growth, especially when one is young enough to learn from the error of their shortsighted ways.