Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stunt Road by Gregory Mose

 Reviewed for "ReviewTheBook"

Gregory Mose takes the reader on a whirlwind ride into the world of the obscure, enlightening, mystic, and colorful world of Horokinetics. Never heard of Horokinetics? Oh, you will in this book, and enjoy the journey. Unemployed Pete McFadden, along with his old college friend and mathematician Emily, and childhood friend and psychologist, Susan take on a project thrown out almost as a challenge by the person Pete has been trying to get a job interview with. He is promised an interview if he can produce a program "as good as" astrology but based on science, a program which he and his friends have successfully produced based on pure math. Something profound, dedicated, prophetic and insightful.

When his challenger reneges and doesn't even return his calls, Pete is devastated.  He takes a long drive up into the mountains, gets out of the car and gives in to memories and self-deprecation over his apparent latest folly.  He is so deep into his thoughts that he doesn't realize he is not alone. A man on horseback has come up the trail behind him.  Both begin to talk and it appears that both are soul-searching and currently unemployed.  Jake does not laugh at Pete's program but seems very interested in it and soon has turned Pete's thoughts to positive ones.

The journey of selling his idea and program begins as Pete finds himself at a table with his program and Jake at a "New Age" fair, a place he never dreamed of being at any point in his life. The book begins to take on an entirely different, and yet still similar forward movement. Over the next several chapters there is mystery, suspense, mythology, corporate greed, mistrust, and many more elements and switches.  The author combines fractals, chaos and philosophies in such a fluid way the reader won't find the sometimes obscure words difficult.  The beginning of the book in particular is quite tongue-in-cheek humorous, but becomes more serious in later chapters. There is quite frankly a lot that can be learned about ourselves as a whole without effort within these pages. On the other hand, the book contains, and in some way combines, the unscrupulous with purity.

I've never read a book quite like Stunt Road.  It is fascinating, depressing, joyful, cynical, provocative and even deadly, all at one go.  Quite an undertaking for a first novel. The range of characters really breathes life into the story.  Without the strong characterizations, this would be a different book.  The ending brings to mind Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" and the lines

    "...Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."

I am left to wonder, which road did Peter take when he came to the crossroad at the end of the book?  4 ½ stars

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