The Caretaker

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9 reviews for The Caretaker

  1. K.C. Finn

    Author Ken Saik packs a lot of knowledge and complexity into a book that you could devour quite happily in a single enjoyable afternoon. One of the features I particularly appreciated about this novel was the author’s narrative style, which balances intelligent dialogue with gentle indications of the subtleties going on under the radar with certain characters that may be up to no good. It’s clear that the author has a broad knowledge of the subject matter and the problems which Steve faces during his battle with Kohlborg, and I enjoyed that sense of realism. This also extended into the character development, where Walter is not made out to be some cartoonish bad guy, but a real person with flaws and vulnerabilities too. Overall, I would recommend The Caretaker for adult readers seeking realistic drama at its best.

  2. Astrid Iustulin

    The Caretaker tells a compelling story that anyone who has ever fought for something will enjoy reading. If Kohlborg is a formidable antagonist, Steve is a protagonist whose story is interesting to learn. I also enjoyed learning about Steve’s grandfather and how it happened that he left the park to the city. I really liked how Saik told the story of the park and the characters connected to it. Anyone who reads The Caretaker will notice how the author has taken care of the details and has told a perfectly clear story. Although The Caretaker is not a very long book, I appreciate it for its precision and consistency. Overall, it is a story that pleasantly entertains readers, and I am grateful to Saik for writing it.

  3. Emily-Jane Hills Orford

    It’s all about how you can maneuver public opinion and find a reasonable, equitable, and favorable compromise. The only problem is, when Steve’s now deceased grandfather’s protected park is threatened by an aggressive developer, it requires his coming out of retirement and meeting the public eye, all to save a piece of green paradise which is doomed to either a concrete maze or more unwanted violence. The first step is a letter-writing campaign, but when that fails, the group formed to address the issue must seek an alternate arrangement to lure the unwanted development to another location. Can they do this? Will the developer be in agreement? But that leaves the problem of park muggings – how do they address this ongoing threat?

    Ken Saik’s novel, The Caretaker: Influencing Decision Makers, is a fascinating look at urban politics and the growing desire to develop precious greenspace into colossal structures of glass and concrete. The story is told in third person narrative, following the points of view of multiple characters from both sides of the argument. The narrative is told in present tense, which, at times is a little awkward. However, there is plenty of dialogue which strengthens the plot development and storyline. The characters are well developed and the conflict very believable. The author’s characters are strong and determined and bring out both the good and the not-so-good found in humanity. The battle to save a piece of greenspace will be inspirational for readers faced with similar issues in their own communities. Powerful and clever messages and strategies.

  4. Natalie Soine

    Sebastian’s Sanctuary, the crown jewel of Aspen Grove’s park system, is threatened by Hollis Homes Property Developer Walter Kohlborg, who aims to construct Park Place Condominiums on the property. The residents of Country Nest come together to try to save Sebastian’s Sanctuary with its forty-acre park and wildlife. The Caretaker of Country Nest is Steve Turphin whose grandfather purchased the property and declared it a sanctuary, never to be developed. The residents form a pressure group, Defenders of Sebastian’s Sanctuary (DOSS) led by Raymond Tesseray. Colin (Steve’s brother-in-law) is the president of the organization called Sanctuary Guardian that protects and maintains the land. Author Ken Saik tells the suspenseful story of how this small group of dedicated people take on the wealthy, corrupt business leaders to save their beloved, special sanctuary.

    Through his novel The Caretaker, Ken Saik brings us an important message. We must preserve our sanctuaries and it takes only a small group of dedicated people to fight corruption. I love the way Ken introduces new ways for the team to fight their battle including making use of the press, Mike Masters, and CBC News. The interesting array of characters carry this fast-paced story forward, showing that compassion and dedication go a long way in bringing a community together. The novel is smooth flowing and makes for comfortable reading pleasure. Ken Saik does an excellent job of describing the scenery and locations including the sanctuary and surrounding areas. All-round, a great story and highly recommended to readers of all ages.

  5. Judge, 9th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book Awards.

    In the End is an exciting thriller of grief, survival, and friendship. The novel’s inciting incident—a group of friends falling into a giant sinkhole—immediately draws readers into the story, and as the boys explore the mysterious underground tunnels, readers share in their curiosity and determination to escape. The plot takes a number of unanticipated twists and turns, and when readers uncover the ultimate twist and the truth of their situation and the mysterious Vanna, they are surprised, yet satisfied, as the novel’s ending feels inevitable.

    There are a lot of characters in the story, and though they are all important to the plot, when the reader first meets the group of boys, it is difficult to distinguish who is who. It might be helpful for readers to get to know a bit more about the boys who will remain in the story the longest, or play a significant role early on, such as Victor and Percy. By giving readers the impression that they are the “main” characters, readers will know that, though they don’t have to remember all of the boys names at once, they should pay special attention to certain ones.

  6. Iarael10

    Hollis Homes capitalizes on the incidents of the attack on elderly residents at the city’s park by Nick, a teenage boy, as a means to set up more structures in Aspen Grove. This idea is initiated by Walter Kohlberg, a businessman who owns Hollis Homes. He desires to build a luxury condo in place of the park. Steve, the caretaker of Aspen Grove, and his brother-in-law, Colin, do all they can to save Sebastian Sanctuary from being replaced by Hollis Homes’ luxury condo. This motive is to fulfill the desire of Steve’s late grandfather. The park was his contribution to the city. Steve is set to right every wrong in Aspen Grove, and this leads him to take on the same path as Nick. Will Steve and Colin lose Sebastian Sanctuary to Hollis Homes? How will Steve succeed in building a relationship with Nick?

    This book has numerous positive aspects. Legal matters involving land tussles and community development are not novel to any society. This makes The Caretaker by Ken Saik a relatable fiction work to read. We see Steve motivated by the desire to protect the park, which his late grandfather had struggled to set up in order to preserve wildlife and for the city’s enjoyment. Why set up something for communal benefits in the first place, only to be destroyed and replaced with structures set up for personal gain?

    I admire the efforts of Steve and his brother-in-law to preserve the work of their antecedent. This is one positive aspect of the book that appealed to me. Another positive aspect that I appreciate is how Nick was not quickly written off due to Steve’s appeal for restorative justice. This helped to reveal that Nick wasn’t innately a wayward person, and the root cause of his behavior was found out.

    He received adequate assistance and changed for the better through the help of Steve, George, and Janice. Nick proved to be beneficial to Aspen Grove when much later on in the novel. I invite you to pick this book to find out how. He became an asset to the city. Also, from the book, readers get to learn how issues in a community and in residential areas are settled by caretakers and in legal ways. That is to say that the book is one which is highly informative.

    This book is devoid of negative aspects. I found a few errors in the book. However, this did not reduce the general quality of this book. It was professionally edited. Therefore, I give the book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend that community leaders, property owners, legal personnel, and residents of structures take it upon themselves to read The Caretaker. Those who are also thirsty for acquiring new knowledge are not left out.

  7. Walter R

    How far can we go to protect something we love? What risks are we willing to take to keep a promise? Steve’s grandfather created the Sanctuary Guardian for Sebastian Sanctuary to ensure that it was preserved. However, Walter Kohlborg and his development plans appear to threaten Sebastian Sanctuary. How far is Steve willing to go to stop him?

    Alice is attacked during her visit to her cats. She is traumatized and scared of going out without company. Walter uses the attack on Alice to further his claims that the lack of constant eyes on the park makes it a place for criminal activities to go undetected easily. Is Alice able to find her attacker? How does this affect Walter’s plans?

    I liked a lot of things about Ken Saik’s The Caretaker. The way of life of the people at Country Nest was fascinating. They lived like a family, assisting each other in times of need. I was awed when Steve, the caretaker, said that he would rather have a vacancy in the building than lease it out to someone who does not care about associating with other people. I found Steve to be a very strategic character, and the simple way he dealt with things was applaudable. He was also very humble in the sense that he did not like to appear in the spotlight. He participated in a lot of things but remained a silent partner without anyone ever knowing of his involvement. I also loved Alice. She proved to be a benevolent woman, and not just because she liked feeding homeless cats, but because of her forgiving and welcoming nature.

    I also learned about restorative justice while reading this book. I understood that sometimes, punishing a person is not always the best way to deal with the person’s shortcomings. There are individuals who act the way they do due to certain circumstances, and restorative justice can help individuals like this. I liked the narrative style employed by the author. It made the book easygoing and relatable, like moonlight tales told by elders.

    The book was well written, and the storyline was amazing. However, I found the book lacking enough suspense to keep a reader going. Despite the fact that it was a short book, I struggled to complete the book. The book lacked the thrill it needed to keep a reader going. I found many errors in this book; it was professionally edited.

    Due to the negative aspect mentioned above, I rate this book three out of four stars. I did not rate it lower because it was a well-written book. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a simple day’s read. I would also recommend it to parents who wish to provide their children with books that contain a lot of morals.

  8. Natalie Wollenzien (verified owner)

    A development project ignites a community’s sense of activism in the lesson-filled novel The Caretaker.

    In Ken Saik’s idealized novel The Caretaker, citizens of idyllic Aspen Grove explore what it means to care for a place or a person as a role model, a companion, or a member of a community.

    Steve and his brother-in-law Colin made many promises to their deceased loved ones about keeping Sebastian’s Sanctuary in a healthy state. But after Nick, a troubled teenager, attempts to rob elderly Alice in the park, the safety and viability of the park is called into question. Still, with the aid of other Aspen Grove residents, Steve and Colin gather a task force to halt the development of luxury condominiums on the park’s space.

    The novel progresses in the form of a how-to, tracking the community’s multiple methods of activism. They write letters, make appeals, talk to local officials, and build marketing strategies for free public services. Meanwhile, Steve tasks himself with Nick’s social rehabilitation, and the two bond over Nick’s deceased father. Nick’s personal improvements are also used as a model, showcasing the immediate benefits of a positive and encouraging interpersonal connection.

    Still, challenges arise—most of them in the form of Walter, the business leader of the development project. He becomes a mouthpiece for the development’s agenda, pontificating that it will create jobs, benefit other businesses, and overall enrich the community. However, while Walter is a reliable device for pushing the story forward, he’s a static antagonist beyond his familiar arguments, even though he’s willing to go to drastic lengths to achieve a profit.

    This lesson-heavy story moves with speed, eschewing deeper world-building and thorough characterizations in favor of vague language and archetypes. While the through lines of each person’s demeanor and actions are established in clear terms, people’s behaviors are also sometimes inconsistent: Nick tells one of his caretakers that he hates Steve, for example, though he is quite responsive to the older man, even in their early interactions, making their wholesome relationship feel inauthentic. Further, though Nick’s parents both died in the same year, little space is devoted to his mourning; the twin tragedy of their suicides gets short shrift.

    The book’s secondary characters are even less attended to; they’re introduced in rapid succession and are not fleshed out beyond their roles. As a result, in scenes with more than two characters, the conversations become too muddled to follow. Still, every character serves the ultimate goal of reinforcing the idea that connecting to one’s community is essential to personal well-being.

    In the allegorical novel The Caretaker, community members band together, engaging in activism against outside developers. In the process, they learn that local support systems are essential to living a full life—and that positive change is always possible.

    Reviewed by Natalie Wollenzien
    December 13, 2023

  9. Blue Ink Review (verified owner)

    The Caretaker: Influencing Decisions Makers
    Ken Saik
    Paper Leaf Agency, 144 pages, (paperback) $16.99, 9781638128182
    (reviewed) Nov. 2023)

    In Ken Saik’s well-crafted novella set in Canada, The Caretaker, a group of concerned locals and a savvy, unassuming man unite to try to stop an aggressive developer from converting a beloved area park into a high-rise condo complex.

    In honor of his deceased grandfather, who bestowed property to the public, Steve Turpin promised to protect and care for “Sebastian Sanctuary,” a wildlife preserve in the heart of Aspen Grove. Many of the area residents, especially several seniors living in Steve’s high rise, where he’s the building caretaker, want to preserve this crown jewel of the park’s system. But the local developer Walter Kohlborg schemes to construct an expansive condo complex on the property.

    Although the area is legally protected from development, Kohlborg’s shady stance is that if approved, the project would help the economy and make the sanctuary a safer place; residents are concerned about a recent mugging and attack. In a second storyline, Steve offers to mentor the troubled teen involved in the mugging.

    From social media campaigns and personal stories that reveal the locals’ love for the park to unscrupulous tactics and a voter referendum that could challenge the “forever clause ” with short chapters, the story’s action moves at a steady pace. Saik presents characters of older and younger generations and illustrates the solid connections growing between them. This helps emphasize the narrative’s themes of community preservation, and caring.

    The book’s one caveat concerns the story’s finale. While the main issue is neatly resolved, the story wraps up quickly without further interaction between the characters. Readers may wonder about the future of the central characters, in particular the friendships that have developed between the younger and older characters. Perhaps an epilogue or sequel might be in order.

    Nevertheless, Saik presents a believable, contemporary storyline that should appeal to those who favor environmental preservation of commercial development.

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