The Commons, Book 1: The Journeyman

Michael Alan Peck. Dinuhos Arts, $19.95 trade paper (315p) ISBN 978-0-9860823-1-3
Peck weaves a concept of the afterlife that’s equal parts action and allegory into this intense debut novel. Seventeen-year-old Paul, fleeing poverty in New York City and seeking his identity in San Francisco, boards a bus with Iraq War veteran Annie and her young son, Zach. When their bus crashes, all three are sent to the Commons, a realm between life and death where souls go on journeys to determine their ultimate fate. But thanks to the Ravagers and their leader, Mr. Brill, the Commons is in disarray, controlled by their sinister corporation. Paul must embark on a journey of his own to save the most vital part of reality. Peck’s message couldn’t be clearer in his depiction of Brill’s perverse business machinations, which destroy lives in order to ensure his continued grasp on ultimate power in an obvious metaphor for America in an era of barely checked capitalism. Peck also distinguishes himself with the creation of Zach, a neuroatypical character whose contributions do not come in spite of being autistic, but because of it. That success, plus scenes of intense action and fantastical creativity, make Peck an author to watch. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2016
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