Review | A Philosophy of Ruin

A Philosophy of Ruin by Nicholas Mancusi

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Oscar Boatwright’s life is crashing in slow motion.

He’s received news his mother died on a flight home from Hawaii.  His father arrives at his home, stunned and still numb.

To make matters worse, Oscar learns his mother’s depression had overwhelmed her and led his parents to spend tens of thousands of dollars on seminars with self-help guru Paul St. Germaine.

Now Oscar’s dad has not only lost his life savings but the wife he longed to save from deep depression …and he still owes thousands to St. Germaine.

Oscar’s extremely modest income as a philosophy professor barely covers his expenses and student loan debt so he’s hopeful his wealthy sister will be able to help their dad in his dire financial situation.  It isn’t long before his sister confides she and her husband are separating and their finances haven’t been great since the market turned.

Just when life seems it can’t possibly get any worse, Oscar has a drunken one night stand with a woman he meets in a bar … and finds her sitting in his class the next day.
Dawn isn’t just his student, she’s also a drug dealer.  While Oscar attempts to remove himself from the awkward situation, he’s drawn further into Dawn’s world, and she knows some of his story.  Enough to know Oscar won’t say no to helping with a large drug run, both out of fear she’ll blackmail him and because he can’t possibly turn down $30,000 in his current situation.

Numb from his recent loss, disillusioned by the past, and uncertain of his future, Oscar sets out with a simple plan: drive a borrowed Land Rover to a GPS programmed location several hours away, pick up a backpack, and return to campus.  That’s it.

His simple plan takes a dramatic turn when Oscar believes he’s being followed by a black truck. What follows is an abrupt and terrifying turn into chaos.

A Philosophy of Ruin begins with a man struggling to come to terms with his mother’s mental illness and sudden death and evolves into the story of a man trying to escape a dangerous drug run.
Mancusi manages to deliver this novel in a controlled way though the events are a dramatic and sudden spiral.  I could compare the plot and delivery to the television show Breaking Bad which has a similar tone and theme.
The ending was abrupt and lacking for me personally but this was still an overall fantastic novel!

Thanks to Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  A Philosophy of Ruin is scheduled for release on June 18, 2019.

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Review | We All Love the Beautiful Girls

We All Love the Beautiful Girls by Joanne Proulx

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Mia and Michael Slate have a pretty wonderful life:  solid marriage, good kid, nice house, and wealth.

That life crumbles over the course of one night.  First, they find out Michael’s business partner (and best friend) Peter has swindled them out of millions of dollars and removed Michael as a partner in the company.  Later, when their 17 year old son Finn doesn’t show up at curfew, Michael goes in search of him only to find him passed out drunk in the snow, barely alive.

The heartbroken Finn must come to terms with the permanent effects of that fateful night, both mentally and physically, and heal from the secret affair he has been having with the girl next door (who is older …and his former babysitter).

Mia and Michael try to stay strong for their son but are emotionally drained from his accident and the betrayal of their best friend.  The couple begin to drift apart, leading to flirtations with infidelity, thoughts of revenge against Peter, and rage over the helplessness they feel about their son’s accident and mental state.

Michael is losing control: his best friend has betrayed him, leaving his family with nothing; his son is recovering well from traumatic injuries but is practically a stranger; he fears his wife may be cheating on him.  It all builds until one night he decides to break the windows on his former business partner’s house; a relatively tame act of revenge that allows him to release some anger and frustration.

The events that follow have devastating consequences not only for Michael and his family, but the entire town, when an innocent person unintentionally becomes collateral damage.

There are so many layers of human emotion within this novel; the way we work through trauma, betrayal, passion, revenge and what drives us when we feel helpless and out of control.

The drama surrounding the Slate family pulled me in and then the intense relationships between characters kept me enthralled.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  We All Love the Beautiful Girls is scheduled for release on August 28, 2018.

Review | Feral Chickens: A Hawaiian Comedy

Feral Chickens: A Hawaiian Comedy by C. McGee

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Ingrid ditches her freezing hometown in Minnesota for the paradise of Kauai after she comes into a sizable inheritance. She knows her money won’t last forever so she has two part time jobs: working as a tour guide and drinking with her independently wealthy (read: jobless) boyfriend Ethan and his buddy Charlie.
When she isn’t working or drinking, she spends a lot of time plotting how to get rid of the chicken population taking over paradise with their loud crowing and general stupidity.

In her quest to rid the island of feral chickens we meet a cast of interesting characters including: Koa, the wise Hawaiian with a permanent seat at the bar; Biggie Smalls, the obese Yorkie; and an “assassination of mongooses” (yeah, that is the plural) under anesthesia.

Shark attacks, shady investment deals, and illegal animal smuggling are what you’re in for when you pick up this Hawaiian comedy. Dramatically over the top and absolutely hilarious, the crude humor and ridiculous situations Ingrid puts herself in are laugh out loud entertaining though a couple of eye rolls are inevitable.

Thanks to Roundfire Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  Feral Chickens: A Hawaiian Comedy is scheduled for release on August 31, 2018.