Patrick M. Garry
Kenric Books (2020)
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (11/20)
“Just when you think you have it all figured out, maybe you don’t.” – p. 271. This quote, found on the final page of this whirlwind of a book, “The Donor,” by Patrick M. Garry, does an entirely thorough job summing up the life of Mr. Sibley Cathright, while remaining vague enough to not entirely spoil the read.
Sibley is a Las Vegas loan collector. He’s finally travelling home to Minnesota to collect on a loan gone sideways. From the beginning, nothing about this loan collection has been his usual, from the borrower being pre-warned of his visit to the error in accounting, so it’s unsurprising when Sibley befriends one of the hotel’s young bus boys, Nathan. While Sibley’s views on Nathan’s intention may be misconstrued, the reader soon learns that Nathan is just a kid struggling to make ends meet as his mother leaves him to maintain the house and schoolwork while she travels the country chasing down men and career fulfillment.
“The Donor” is aptly named for a myriad of reasons that slowly unwind as readers dive deeper into the life of Sibley and Nathan. Beginning with Sibley present day, serving a jail sentence, the reader rewinds through time as we learn of the mess Sibley becomes entangled in and Nathan’s role in it all.
While “The Donor” is serious in its themes and story arc, is also quite comical in how each character sees one another through their own lens, and how extremely wrong each man is about the other’s intentions. Author Patrick M. Garry has created a well-paced book with just enough background and plot movement that readers are never left feeling “stuck” in one place. The characters are tough, yet naively unaware. Garry presents readers with “old timey private investigator” vibes in the way Sibley narrates his story, saying things like “that clue would be the piece that eventually tied this whole case together and I just didn’t know it at the time.” This, combined with the scenery of Minnesota, blended perfectly, giving readers a feeling of a black and white noir movie, aiding in further solidifying Garry’s talent in storytelling.