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Deception: The Ultimate Betrayal

Deception: The Ultimate Betrayal by [White, Jackie]

Jackie White’s Deception is built around Asia McKay, a beautiful, high flying career woman who is thrown into a whirlwind of hurt, betrayal, infidelity, confusion and depression. Her marriage comes to an abrupt end when she discovers that her husband, David, has been having an affair with her friend, Gina, an affair that leads to pregnancy producing twins- Reign and Raven in the long run. Asia and David have to go their separate ways. Moving on with her life, Asia meets a good-looking, randy medical doctor, Zaire, who follows her to Aruba and sneaks into her hotel room, subjecting her to sexual assault that results in pregnancy. On discovering that she is pregnant from Zaire, she becomes downcast and comes up with the idea of falsifying a DNA test in favor of David in order to keep Zaire far away from her and her child.

Deception is a compelling novel full of intrigue, irony and suspense that depicts the grim realities of life. The book is not larger than life, I found most of the characters believable to a heart breaking extent. The book’s laudable strength consists in its ability to hold its readers sway from start to finish, paying critical attention to details when describing events, places and people with felicitous phrasing. The omnipresent narrator has a sharp eye for details.

While I found the book to be highly entertaining and thrilling there was humor injected at just the right moments to bring a bit of levity to an otherwise suspenseful novel; a moment to relax your shoulders before the next twist. The novel employs the intense use of soliloquies with some characters like Asia, Gina and Zarie thinking aloud in their respective distressing and lonely moments. Conversations leading to overwhelming emotional outbursts are recurrent in the novel. As stated earlier, the author’s literary mastery shines through, describing turns of intricate events with sheer creativity, maturity and ingenuity.

The novel explores so many provocative themes in a way that is engaging yet understandable. Themes like betrayal, deception, infidelity, lust and love can be found in any one of our lives, but how Asia deals with these emotional obstacles is what kept me turning pages.

Pages: 280 | ASIN: B0792LCPRZ

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Bar Nights

Bar Nights (The Mire Man Trilogy, #1)4 StarsBar Nights by Dave Matthes is the first book of the Mire Man Trilogy, a chronicle of the life of Arlo Smith. Arlo comes home from work to find his wife and another man in the throes of passion on the kitchen counter. He decides that’s as good as a divorce decree, packs a bag, and walks out. In the driveway, his daughter and her boyfriend spark his rage, and he trashes the young man’s car with a baseball bat before he leaves. Arlo drives until his car breaks down, walks to a roadside bar, and stays. The owner, Vance, hires him as the janitor and gives him a tiny apartment above the bar.

Arlo doesn’t want to start over. His soul is already crushed by his former life and marriage, and in this bar, ironically named Purgatory, he has the freedom to be as drunk and indolent as he cares to. His only pleasure is in music. While he gets drunk in his apartment, the piano player downstairs fills his room with music. almost every night. He clings to the music but doesn’t want to meet her. When they do meet, she becomes the catalyst that forces him to face his life, his lies, and the hell he created along the way.

The plot of the story is simple, but there are so many nuances that I’d compare it more to Jazz than literature. Some of the barflies that come and go are character studies of people on the edge, or close to it, and reflect Arlo and Vance’s personal demons. The flow of the chapters adds texture and rhythm. The language is lyrical, sometimes pulling me out of the narrative just to appreciate the prose. Finding these gems was something I enjoyed while reading the novel.

Outside my window, the snow fell like the ash from a volcano…. I remembered looking out my window on Christmas morning as a child, and seeing the snow…. Little moments like that stole me from time to time. Burps and hiccups of nostalgia. A staple of regret temporarily sewing the rips and tears shut.

The author uses chapters in an unorthodox way, some as short as two words. Sometimes this works beautifully, but on occasion, a chapter seems more like a side note, or stray thought. I felt that the novel was repetitive in places, revisiting events and even phrases a few too many times, but in retrospect, some of that was clearly intentional. Addicts can be stuck on emotions or trauma, and that broken-record effect gave more realism to the characters.

Arlo is locked in a vicious cycle of self-hate, addiction, and depression that is reflected in the people he meets. Through Arlo’s eyes, we meet the patrons at the bar, his interactions with them colored by his personal misery. He’s afraid to meet Constance, the piano player, for fear that his illusions will crumble. Of course, fate intervenes, and he finally meets her by accident. They’re not in love, but they need each other to get through the desperation of their lives. Constance shoves him toward rehab, trying to save his life before he kills himself or becomes just like all the other drunks at the bar called Purgatory. Even that irony isn’t lost on Arlo.

This is a book for adults, as the language and situations are not for readers who are easily offended. It’s an examination of addiction and desperation that doesn’t sugar-coat anything. The author doesn’t spare any of the senses on this dive into skid row, and I could see, feel, and smell every detail. If you like Bar Nights, also pick up Paradise City, the next book in the trilogy.

Pages: 209 | ISBN: 1506198961

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