Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading The Unraveling Of Brendan Meeks by Brian Cohn
THE UNRAVELING OF BRENDAN MEEKS by Brian Cohn
5 out of 5 stars
Brendan Meeks is schizophrenic. He thinks his head contains an important, secret code, and that mysterious men in dark suits are trying to get inside his brain. He comes from an affluent, middle class, dysfunctional family; his mother is cold and aspirational, his father a weak shadow, but his sister is the one light in his life. Brendan lives in a run down apartment block, where his friends are a druggie, a drunkard and a dealer, but they’ve become his new family.
When tragedy strikes, Brendan is sure that the police are not doing enough to solve the crime, and takes on his own investigation. Trouble is, he is unable to tell what is truth and what is just the voices in his head…
‘My voices commanded me to do awful things, like jump off a bridge or slit my throat or step out into traffic. They never told me to do anything useful or productive, like, ‘Eat more vegetables’ or ‘Don’t forget to floss’.’
I read this book over just two days, it’s very good indeed. Brendan is likeable and totally believable, and every character, even the minor ones, shine out. Mr Cohn’s writing style is intelligent, incisive, and subtly amusing, which is just right for this unusual and highly original story. Cliché alert: I couldn’t put it down!
Brendan makes some excellent observations:
About a DEA officer ~ ‘His voice was low and soft, with a backwoods Louisiana accent, Cajun and Creole and jambalaya all mixed together. I envisioned him living in a house on stilts, driving a fan boat and wrestling alligators in his spare time. He probably put Tabasco sauce in his coffee’.
About a dealer: ‘…a pudgy white guy with short blond hair … he looked like a bloated Eminem, and I wondered if he had eaten the rapper and taken on some of his persona in the process’.
The plot itself is interesting, some of it almost black humour, but it’s tragic, too, and I had no idea what the outcome would be. When it came, it wrapped all the threads up nicely, and gave me hope for Brendan too. I don’t throw 5* around but this book definitely deserves it. The author has masses of genuine talent, the sort you can’t learn, or fake with ‘by-numbers’ plots. Highly recommended!
THE UNRAVELING OF BRENDAN MEEKS is a first-person glimpse into the mind of a young man with schizophrenia as he deals with tragic loss. The result is a unique and unforgettable mystery clouded with hallucinations and fraught by paranoia.
Meeks is a young man born with a silver spoon jammed down his throat, a fact his domineering mother has never let him forget. Although he has nearly everything he could ever want—friends, money, a good education—Brendan’s life falls apart during graduate school when he begins to show signs of schizophrenia. Forced to drop out of school, he watches most of his friends disappear and his parents distance themselves further and further.
The only constant left in Brendan’s life is his loving sister, Wendy. When she turns up dead, he must ignore the insults and threats from the voices in his head to begin his own investigation. With the help of an odd assemblage of his few friends—a drug dealer, a meth addict, and a war veteran with a bad case of agoraphobia—he begins to uncover a conspiracy that may, or may not, be a byproduct of his own delusional mind.
About the author
Brian is an ER doctor practicing in St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives with his beautiful wife and their two rambunctious children. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama where he grew up loving to read. His passion for books continued through his college career at the UNC-Chapel Hill, and traveled with him back to Alabama where he attended the University of Alabama School of Medicine. He moved to St. Louis for residency training, met his wife, and fell in love with both her and the city itself. He has been practicing emergency medicine for over a decade and loves helping people every day, but turned to writing as a creative outlet.
A self-professed nerd, Brian has long enjoyed everything science fiction, from books to TV and movies. He is also a huge fan of great mysteries and thrillers, and is a sucker for a surprising plot twist. He writes the kind of books that he would want to read, reflecting a deep-seated curiosity about what motivates people to do the things they do.
When he’s not busy writing and taking care of patients, Brian loves to run, play with his children, and spend quiet time watching TV with his wife. If he can only figure out how to do all three things at once, he’ll finally have it made.