Encircle Publications (2021)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (10/2021)
As a Connecticut Yankee, I personally love books that start out in that cold, dark, snow-laden state. The promise of suspense is there as you feel the chills from the winter weather go up your spine and words that stream like fascinating poetry begin. Yes, that is what this author gifted me on the very first page, and made sure to keep my attention until the story came to a close.
Simply put, you are looking at a dark comedy that stars a wealthy young man born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Dan Goodis is his name, and he has a father that’s among those Fortune 500 CEO’s who make money even while they sleep from their successful oil company. Dan, however, doesn’t want to follow that path; he’s actually partial to working as a stand-up comic and making people laugh.
A fateful day arrives when Dan comes across a murder in progress that affects his own life and emotional state even more. The dying soul is not only a hermit, but he is a highly intelligent physicist that unintentionally bestows upon Dan a secret code; a puzzle that Dan becomes obsessed with solving. Although the struggling comedian doesn’t really want to deal with this on top of everything else, he soon finds out that he doesn’t really have a choice; because of this secret, Dan is now in peril. Not only has he become a “target” for a dangerous group that wishes to stop and silence him forever, Dan also enters into a romantic relationship with a woman named Lauren who seems to have secrets of her own that may or may not negatively affect Dan even more once her hidden story comes to light. And if you think Dan’s rich daddy is on the up-and-up, you’ll be surprised to learn about his interesting and slightly shady past as well!
The author does a wonderful job mixing the darkness and mystery with both romance and humor as he explores Dan’s turmoil over finding and solving the meaning of life; true love versus lies; how to trust in a world that is basically untrustworthy; as well as how to do ‘good’ without becoming a victim.
Trying to distinguish between the villains and Dan’s real allies is a whole lot of fun, and being sent back to the 1980’s to roam the world (which was much happier back then) was an added bonus. It does not surprise me that this work was so ambitious, seeing as that the author has penned a slew of screenplays, novels, short films and more, that have gone on to garner him awards.
For those interested in the darker side of life, mixed perfectly with thrills and romance, will absolutely love this! “5 Stars” is given to this author who left no stone unturned when he created this awesome read.