Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review of 'The Price of Guilt' by Patrick M. Garry

The plot of this mind-bending novel consists of a brilliantly conceived and absolutely compelling set of events leading up to the most apt title: THE PRICE OF GUILT. As we soon find out: there are prisons within prisons, the worst being the obsessions of the mind. In fact, the author sets the dark penal tone with a great line about being in jail: “mealtime and bedtime — two ports of call on an endless cruise of fear and monotony.” Along with well-dispersed flashbacks — using prison as his vehicle of transition — the author serves up crisp, natural dialogue to funnel us down a path where people and situations are nothing like they seem; in fact, Mr. Garry has so skillfully portrayed spousal bickering, he raises it to an art form. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton come to mind. Here are the bare bones: While attending a class reunion with his difficult and argumentative wife, Thomas Walsh feels compelled by guilt to make up for a prank he and friends played on a classmate back in the day — the prank indirectly resulting in the classmate being left blind and orphaned. However, a complicated chain of events results in Thomas becoming a prime suspect, arrested for dealing drugs. Eventually, the book’s title says it best because it’s all about the destructiveness of misdirected guilt. The first few chapters set the tone and absolutely hook the reader. After that? Well, there’s a cast of compelling characters that keep you guessing, plus mysterious interludes, ugly politics, sexual tension, and even a peppering of steamy sex. There are Stand-By-Me-type coming of age flashbacks, many layers of betrayal, and a grand scheme of revenge. If you like to be kept guessing, you’ll love it, I guarantee. However, to be totally honest here, I gotta admit that I had a little trouble believing the main character, such a seasoned lawyer, could be so na├»ve. That is, until I thought more about it. After all, our rationality and true vision of even the smartest of us is often easily obscured by those tremendously powerful emotions revolving around guilt. Anyway, everything is explained completely in the end. Each and every loose thread is tied up nicely. I love that in a book. The book jacket tells us that Patrick Garry is a professor at the University of South Carolina. Even more impressive to fans of fiction, he’s penned no less than seven novels, which have been widely and favorably reviewed. In fact, the author has actually won ten prestigious literary awards including a National Best Book Award for fiction. One national book review radio program has called him “the best unrecognized American novelist writing today.” Recommended by reviewer: Jan Evan Whitford, Allbooks Reviews The Price of Guilt Kenric Books ©2011 Patrick M. Garry ISBN 13: 978-0-9833703-0-7 Trade Paperback 254 pages For more info: www.amazon.com/Price-Guilt-Patrick-M-Garry/dp/0983370303 .

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