Hellbox Editions (2020)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/20)
Dave Mason makes a stunning entry into the literary world with his debut novel, “EO-N.” It is a moving historical fiction adventure that will keep you entranced and linger in your thoughts long after you turn the final page.
A young boy and his dog uncover a link to the past when they stumble upon a shard of metal emerging from a glacial formation in Norway. This discovery initiates an in-depth investigation surrounding a downed combat aircraft from WWII. The exploration reveals more questions than answers as lives from the past and present are forever entwined. But how can a biotech CEO, a WWII Royal Canadian Air Force squadron leader, a decorated German fighter pilot and a young prisoner of war be connected? Through a mesmerizing tale of love and war, history and family, cruelty, and redemption.
There were so many things flowing through my mind as I finished this story that I sat very still with my thoughts for the longest time contemplating what I just read. Indeed, I had to settle with the story a bit before I could even attempt to do it justice with a review. One thing is certain, “EO-N” is a novel of distinction – impeccably written, every sentence captivating. One gets the impression the author thoroughly enjoyed himself with this work. And though Mason makes it seem effortless through his delivery, it’s evident this story was born of meticulous research and a genuine interest. History enthusiasts of WWII combat aircrafts, especially those interested in the de Havilland Mosquito, will relish the fine-tuned detail carefully crafted into the story. The scenes describing the excavation of the aircraft shows such striking detail, you’ll feel like you’re a part of an archaeological dig – if you’re claustrophobic, be warned – it’s that realistic.
The characters are all as different as they can be and their authenticity builds trust and meaningful connections with the reader. A couple of my favorites: Alison, the biotech CEO, is intellectually fueled, her whole life based on facts. She is a strong female lead just starting to consider there are some things that don’t have concrete answers. It is her vulnerability and willingness to venture outside her comfort zone that earns the respect of readers. Gunther, the German fighter pilot, is a realist who finds himself caught in a battle and a cause he can no longer support. When faced with an insurmountable challenge he doesn’t even blink, risking everything for the fate of humanity. These characters, and all the others, get inside your head and under your skin – you will love some of them and despise some of them but, have no doubt, every character will elicit a reaction.
As an eye-opening history lesson from WWII, point blank exposure of crimes against humanity, a mystery from a past generation, political turmoil and societal injustices, sprinkled with family secrets, a bit of romance, and hopeful new beginnings, “EO-N” by Dave Mason is a must-read novel with something for everyone. It’s easily one of the most intriguing novels I’ve read this year.