Small Town Problems by Chris Ritchey - Book Review

Series: Small Town Problems (Book #1)

Genre: Sci-Fi, First Contact

Pages: 153 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: November 19th, 2021 by Jester's Library Publishing

Review Date: 12/26/2023

Tags: #chrisritchey #sci-fi #firstcontact #indie

Small Town Problems is a first contact story filled with heart, humor, friendship, and of course small town vibes.

I also want to thank Chris Ritchey for sending me a copy of this book to review!


I was actually first introduced to Small Town Problems through YouTube when Daniel Greene posted a full video reviewing this book. This was over a year ago, so I could not remember exactly what Daniel’s thoughts were on this book but I believe it was mostly a positive experience.

Ritchey reached out to me asking if I would be interested in reading his book called Small Town Problems that sparked my memory where I thought to myself, “I remember seeing this book somewhere”. This is when I put two and two together through the help of Ritchey himself saying that he took Daniel’s criticism back to the drawing board to improve and revise Small Town Problems to be the book that it is today.

So I said, “Yes, I would love to check it out.”

From here, well, you can see how it turned out with my thoughts below.


Small Town Problems is a sci-fi novella coming in at only 153 pages long but is planned to be the first of a three-part series.

After completing this book, I am excited to see how Ritchey continues the story and expands on the established relationships for the characters we come to know and love.

I actually did not know that Ritchey was planning more books in this series until I began writing this review and I'm all for it!

I decided not to revisit Daniel's video on Small Town Problems so I could make my own judgements and opinions on this book without any external factors weighing in on my reading experience.

There is a classic saying that goes “you can't judge a book based on it's cover” which I 100% agree with but I also believe this should be applied to book reviews as well. Even if the review is coming from a large established voice in the book community. Everyone's experience will be different and not everyone's opinion will match your own.

So I say, take a chance if you're even remotely interested in a book and don't take any review as gospel, even this review here.

Alright, let's get back to Small Town Problems and see what my thoughts were on this small size novella.


Comfortable in his simple rural life, widower Robert Potter never put much stock in Old Jim's moonshine-fueled conspiracy theories. But after he finds Har'elday, the lone survivor of a crashed spaceship, he begins to wonder if the Loch Ness Monster has relocated to Eufaula Lake. Much to Robert's dismay, the wandering eye of the federal government is casting a questioning gaze on his small farm town as well.”

Small Town Problems takes place in a small town, would you believe that? And just like in the books description, something unusual takes place in this small town in Oklahoma when our main character, Robert Potter, happens upon a single alien survivor of a crashed spaceship.

From the very beginning of this story, Ritchie does an excellent job immersing you in this small town where everyone knows everyone. A town where people call each other by their first name. A town where everyone’s business is out in the open and where keeping secrets is basically non-existent.

This is problematic for our main character because he befriends an alien.

As you can probably already tell, this is not your typical first contact story with aliens descending to Earth wreaking havoc across the planet. Don't get me wrong, I can always get behind an alien invasion tale but it's refreshing to have a story approach aliens from a different perspective.

In Small Town Problems we get to see a budding relationship between two unlikely species that really touches your heart as the friendship really does feel realistic and genuine. There is also excellent dialogue between the two displaying clear chemistry that flows as if you're watching a sitcom.

If you were a fan of Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary, I can confidently say you will also be a fan of this book for the growing friendship, the focus on science, and the fantastic character work.

Now, going back to the problem at hand, we have an ALIEN in town!

This is an issue because word on street is that the American government completely decimated another small town where there were potential aliens. So, our main character and a select few of his closest buddies seek to keep our new alien friend safe from the feds while also trying to help him get his ship back in working order.

There was also an emotional depth to this story that I was not expecting at all. Ritchie explores many human struggles of loneliness, loss, and companionship that add layers of context to our main character, Robert.

I literally teared up in a couple scenes that took my by complete surprise.

The only slight issue I had while reading this book was descriptions of a few things including characters and items. This mainly included our new alien friend, the spaceship, and a few other scenes where it was difficult for me to picture the item in my head. In terms of our alien friend, the best way that I could picture him was as a bigfoot looking creature. Hopefully I am close here but for now I can confirm the bigfoot conspiracy!!

Additionally, our new alien friend has somewhat of an accent witch helps distinguish his dialogue but it was a bit difficult to fully understand every word in a sentence at times but for the most part I read it without issue.

Overall, Ritchey successfully crafted a beautiful sci-fi story told within a small town with characters you will easily and quickly latch onto. Also there was a layer of adrenaline pumping scenes towards the tail end of this tale that I fully enjoyed.

I rate Small Town Problems 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to any sci-fi fan. If you are looking for a quick character driven story full of humor, science, and friendship, this is the book for you!

Going back to the genesis of this review, pretty soon I am also going to make a video review on this book while also addressing the feedback Daniel Greene gave during his review. Once that video is up, I will link here in this review and of course post it on my Twitter/X profile.

“We need to live in their life, not their death.”

If you are interested in learning more about Small Town Problems and more of Ritchey's work, you can check out his site for updates & news HERE.

Also, I have a Patreon that is completely open for new members where I will place your name at the bottom of all future reviews and in all future videos. No pressure at all, I can’t thank you enough for simply reading this review and watching my videos. You ROCK!

Thank you to my Patrons

“Your name here!”