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28Sep/09Off

When Did You Know?

Ends_of_the_Earth_cover_178x270SPOILER ALERT! THIS POST DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
This whole discussion about the cliffhanger ending of Ends of the Earth seems like a study in psychology to me. Why do people vote the way they do? Do men, on average, vote differently than women? Why do some people seem to feel so passionately about their decisions? In my last post I posed the question, “Do women have a greater need for closure than men?” In this post I’d like to throw in yet another question: “When did you know who you’d vote for?”

I think some people decided before they even began the book. Maybe they had just finished reading Less than Dead, and they had formed an attachment to Alena Savard that no other woman could compete with. Others might have just concluded Shoofly Pie and felt exactly the same way about Kathryn Guilford.

Most of you made up your mind as you read the book—but when? What was the tipping point for you? What was the specific scene or exchange of dialogue when you said to yourself, “She’s the one for Nick”?

Or maybe you never said that. Maybe you’re one of the minority who said to yourself, “Nick will never get married,” or “Nick proposed to both.” When did you decide that? When did you know?

The question I’d most like answered is: Did the bonus chapters make any difference? Did they change your mind in any way? Did you even read both chapters, or just the one that visualized the decision you had already made? Is there anyone out there whose mind was firmly made up until she read those two alternate realities—and then changed her vote?

When did you know?

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  1. I started out reading Less than Dead and then read all the others in the order they were written. For me, Alena had me at Less than Dead. Kathryn was my least favorite of all of the women and I was very surprised when you brought her back. She doesn’t have the personality to hold the audience captive. Alena, on the other hand, is like Nick. You never know what she’s going to say or do, you only know it will be humorous. In my mind Kathryn could never hold a candle to Alena. Alena and Nick just go together.

  2. I LOVED the fact that the conclusion left us hanging the way it did. Usually I would have preferred closure but this ending was so “Nick”. If this is the end of the series, it is perfect; if there are more books coming, (and I hope there are), then the door is open to explore further possibilities.

    I think i had chosen Alena as a soulmate for Nick in “Less Than Dead” if the author was to throw some romance into the series. I can’t say that the bonus chapters really did a lot for me. Having read “Chop Shop”, it would have been an interesting twist to have some memories of Riley thrown into the mix!

    I have read most of Tim Down’s books and have thoroughly enjoyed them all. The Bug Man books have been especially entertaining, fascinating, hard to put down reading. I loved the caustic wit displayed by the characters toward each other – to me, that kind of humour is used with people who are comfortable with themselves and each other.

    A man asking for instruction? How can that be? But yet here we see in Nick a total guilelessness in asking questions if he does not have an answer. Not a trait you see in many men.

  3. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    If I were writing the book, Nick would end up with Alena or quite possibly with both of them walking out on him for his proposing with both of them present. But because he was always thinking of Kathryn when he was with Alena, I felt the book (and thus the author behind it) was pushing a little more for Kathryn. My actual vote was that he was proposing to both. He seemed to have trouble making up his mind, and although this is more a bird analogy than a bug one, it did occur to me that he might be like a peacock displaying his feathers to see which female responded. You’re the one who’s done all the bug research–do any insects behave like that?

    By the way, I laughed out loud on a bus in Mexico with Less than Dead last year, and although I was in a more somber mood this year when I read Ends of the Earth, I did chuckle softly while in a van full of people. I also teared up when everyone and his brother was willing to sacrifice something to save Callie. By the way, although I’m thankful both dogs survived, I think it would have been more realistic for one or both of them to have died.

    Please keep the books coming! Yours are some of the few I bother to pre-order.

  4. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    I voted for Alena as she is the only one that Nick always got as good as he gave. Only one woman in all the Bug Man books has left him speechless and that was Alena. I think she is the only one who could handle his strange habits. Alena is also the only one who ever threated to kill him just for being who he is. Can’t wait to see where Nick goes next.

  5. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    I read both endings and voted for Alena because she’s a much snappier character. When I heard there was a surprise ending I figured out it would be a “which woman” thing, so well before I started reading, my choice was pretty much made. Alena’s the kind of woman Nick needs to keep him in line. I think she will have more mobility too, given her occupation. Kathryn’s further involvement in cases would be kind of limited given her more “responsible” responsibilities, like the kid.
    I don’t know about women in general but not having closure would probably make me want to burn the book or at least chuck it across the room.

  6. More books NOW! Just love your humor … my husband & I still quote your jokes from a Family Life Marriage Conference in Appleton, WI well over 10 years ago. How about Tim Downs as Nick?

    I loved Head Game and PlagueMaker, and learned tons about Hurricane Katrina from First the Dead. The bugs make me squeamish, but your writing is SO worth that hurdle.

    I loved your chapter where Kathryn throws the tomato at the church door. The pastor’s response was outstanding and packed more Truth than many sermons.

    My heart voted for Kathryn, but this blog has convinced me that Alena may be a better match!

    I told my college freshman son about this new book and that Nick makes some social baby steps. His response, “What good is that??” We love Nick and his social awkwardness. Is it because Nick speaks for so many men?

    Keep writing, Tim. Can’t wait for the next book!

  7. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    By the way in answer to ABKing who said, “Alena is the most intriguing character I’ve read in a long time.” She’s more into dogs than I am. But she relates to dogs and Nick is more of an insect. I don’t think that bodes will for a domestic relationship.”
    Don’t forget that Kathryn is terrified of bugs.
    I agree with Melissa and Brian Pearson above.

  8. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    This is Steve from Original Books a christian fiction review site. I would like to let everyone know that we officially endorse Alena in this contest. She is a much better written character and fits with Nick better than anyone else. While we would not be opposed to Nick staying single we definitely do not support Kathryn. So vote for Alena everybody!

    You can visit us online at originalbooks.blogspot.com

  9. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    Hi, Tim! Patti here…the other half of the Ty Nichols marriage! This was my first Bugman book as well, so I’m looking forward to reading another one, especially those with Kathryn and Alena in them. I had a hard time putting it down, and all of my other books got put on hold!

    I was trying to decide who Nick would pick, not just who I would pick. When Nick saw Kathryn and Callie in the corn field and was willing to die for them, I thought for sure he would pick Kathryn. It was always her that he was trying to call….never Alena. So, when I went to vote, I went in thinking I would vote for Kathryn. I read Alena’s version first and was impressed with how she handled Nick and Kathryn….with honesty, wit, and kindness (to Kathryn). After reading Kathryn’s version second, I was uneasy with the matchup…..too many holes, especially with handling a child with autism. She would need more time and focus than Nick seems to be able to give.

    So, I almost voted for Alena, but ended up voting for “neither” even though he did propose to someone or both! I just feel like Nick should go to a Family Life Conference(!!) and learn a few things about communication before he tackles marriage! :-) But I do I enjoy his edge, and that of Alena, too. With some work on communication, I think those two would make a pretty good team!

    You made this a lot of fun. I’m going to send the book with Ty as he travels to speak at the conference in Louisville. I can’t wait to see who he picks and why. Have fun as you piece all of this together!

    And by the way, I LOVED the dedication that you wrote to Joy in the front…. I’ve thought about that almost every day! Say hi for me!

  10. Ends of the Earth was my first Tim Downs book. I voted “both” because I thought that he was so befuddled that he did not know which woman he really loved more. But I think that he needs to be with Kathryn. He needs a 100% human wife. Alena is the most intriguing character I’ve read in a long time. She’s more into dogs than I am. But she relates to dogs and Nick is more of an insect. I don’t think that bodes will for a domestic relationship. I liked the writing in the Alena chapter better.
    BTW I wrote a review for Amazon on Ends of the Earth and on Blind Trust. Check out both reviews to see how much I like Tim Downs work.
    http://bit.ly/ABKingAmazon

  11. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    I had to vote for Alena. Their chemistry together is much more real to me than Nick and Kathryn’s. And both proposals were classic Nick, lol.

  12. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    Just want to add it was always Alena for me. She has the best hope of getting him to the spiritual considerations he lacks and needs. Also, I felt you favored Kathryn. She’s a great character but too needy, and in spite of Nick’s singular ability to visit with her daughter, he is in no way father material at this point, not that he’s husband material either.
    And, no, the additional chapters did not influence my decision at all.

  13. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    I voted for both since it is Nick. My leanings are towards Alena for much the same reasons others stated. She would understand Nick better and their relationship seems like they have much more in common with both their unusual personalities. Kathryn would probably have a better shot at someone else where Alena would go back to her mountain and stay alone with just the dogs and a few folks for company. It seemed like the proposals were forced and neither seemed to have hit the same wonderful writing of the books as a whole. I wasn’t wowed by either proposal which is one of the reasons I voted for both.

  14. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    Having read only two of your books, this one and PlagueMaker, doesn’t give me much history of Nick before meeting Alena, but because I have an opinion you get it anyway. I like Alena. She independent, forthright, sharp, has a special talent, gives as good as she gets – if not more, and would understand more of the personality foibles of a man like Nick. So, my opinion, because I like a woman like Alena so should Nick. However, marraige isn’t necessarily a requisite to having a love relationship, something I think both Nick and Alena should consider and would be comfortable with. So I’m hoping he doesn’t get married – just commits.

  15. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    It is funny to me that you ended the book the way you did. I read all of your books in order but I read Less Than Dead to my husband after just telling him about the others. When I was reading to him the part where Alena is explaining how she chooses, names, and trains her dogs and Nick told her that Ruckus’ real name is Edwardo he was just too embarrassed to tell her, my husband said “They get married, don’t they?” I told him they did not but they should. I think Alena can understand Nick better than Katherine. I got the impression that Katherine would always be trying to make him a better person instead of allowing him to be who he is. It also occurred to me that Nick was able to walk away from Katherine at the end of ShooFly Pie and she wasn’t really mentioned again whereas he has kept in touch with Alena. I know she has a profession that he can recommend when he is working on a case for the police but he didn’t have to suggest her. And he didn’t just give her name to the police, he got in touch with her himself. I am also certain that Katherine will go back into community setting where she will meet people who will love and support her and her daughter whereas Alena would go back to her mountain and become “the Witch of Endor” again with only Gunner and Rose for love and support. And I doubt anyone but Nick would have the nerve to climb her fence and take a chance with the dogs already knowing they were not to be messed with.

    What I’d like to know is what does Nick’s mom think of all of this. She’s been wanting grandkids for a while now. In Chop Shop the smart aleck told his mother (after meeting Riley) that she would have a grandchild by Christmas. By the way, I think Nick should be in contact with his mother in each of the books.

    She was a hoot.

    • Wow, Laurie, you’ve got a terrific memory for detail! And you’re the second reader to ask about Nick’s mom and what she would think about Nick’s romantic dilemma…I’m definitely going to have to bring her back and find out.

  16. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    Starting Ends of the Earth, I assumed there was a relationship between Alena and Nick. Less than Dead seemed to indicate there was mutual interest. So I was somewhat surprised when Kathryn came into the picture. It felt like she was intruding on a relationship, even though it was one that really hadn’t progressed. I was open to the idea of Kathryn and the book seemed very much like she would be the ultimate choice, but what really ended it for me with her, was her treatment of her daughter. I understand her getting upset with Alena for relating to her daughter better, but Kathryn really needs to change her outlook towards her daughter before becoming involved in another relationship. At the very least she needs to learn to communicate with Callie, even if she’s not comfortable with the method that works best.

  17. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    I have read all your books but never really felt an “attachment” to Kathrine (Or Beth from Bug Man-3) like I did with Riley (Was that her name?) or Alena. I think that the way Nick’s poor relationship with his father and Alena’s father getting killed made a connection between them in my mind. Her lonelyness and separation from society fits with Nick’s personality. Also I found Alena interesting because she is the only one who Nick goes to. All the others come to him, which made her character more interesting. Suffice it to say, before the book started I thought he had to go for her. My opinion changed after I learned about Kath’s daughter, but in the end, Alena has to win.

    Her extra chapter seemed smoother than Kath’s, and she can help Nick as an ally in the next books, where Kath doesn’t have the same skill sets. She’s an interesting character, but she just doesn’t have the same feel as Alena does.

  18. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    I voted “he proposed to both–he’s Nick.” However, I WANTED him to propose to Alena. I really like her and she has more of a spiritual element in her life than Kathryn does.

    I haven’t read either of the books the two women were in previously, so I had to base my judgments on them solely from Ends of the Earth and what I knew about Nick from First the Dead. Nick deserves someone who doesn’t hate bugs, so therefore can’t be with Kathryn. Kathryn seems too fragile–I like how tough Alena is and how she relates people to dogs, kind of how Nick relates people to bugs. She is funnier than Kathryn, too. I laughed aloud at as many of her lines as I did Nick’s.

    I think the part that made me want to see Nick and Alena together was when Alena revealed for the first time that she loved him. She was also willing to do more for him (i.e. put on high heels for a party and traipse around in a tomato field way longer than she should have).

    The extra chapters did not change my mind. They only solidified my decision for Alena. I, too, want to see more of her in subsequent books.

    • I have an experiment for you to try, Karri: Read Shoofly Pie and see if you still feel the same way. I guarantee you’ll come away with a different impression of Kathryn.

  19. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    For someone as odd and misunderstood as Nick, it had to be Alena or no one. I voted for Alena because I want to see her in other books.

  20. SPOILER ALERT! THIS COMMENT DISCUSSES THE SURPRISE ENDING OF ENDS OF THE EARTH! READER BEWARE!
    I read both bonus chapters but they did not change my mind. I still voted for Kathryn. But the longer I think about it maybe he should stay single. :)

  21. This “clever” way to end the book has me curious….I just need to get to reading it…hopefully OCTOBER! :)


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