Every so often I need to take a step back from my usual genres and pick up something completely different. Skip Horack's new book, The Other Joseph, offered up a great opportunity to do just that.
Roy Joseph has lost most of his life - his beloved older brother Tommy died in the Gulf War, his parents are both dead and he lives within the narrow confines of a life constricted by a felony conviction. He's chosen to live in a remote area with only a dog for company and he works an isolated job on the oil rigs. Roy has exiled himself from life.
When a young woman contacts him and say that his brother Tommy was her father, he sees a chance - a chance to reconnect with life again, to redeem himself, to perhaps be happy.
Roy's journey physically takes him from Louisiana to San Francisco. He visits locales from their childhood and calls on those who knew his brother along the way. Broken and wounded characters litter the road between Louisiana and San Francisco.
Horack's prose are rich and powerful. They are stark and spare, underlining Roy's solitude. I was overwhelmed by Roy's life - his broken, isolated existence. It was just so very, very sad. I wasn't able to read the book straight through - I simply had to read in small doses. I wanted so badly for the the trip to be Roy's redemption. And of course you're asking - was it? It's hard to say - the ending is not what I wanted at all - Horack did surprise me. I'll have to go with an ambiguous yes and no answer.
The Other Joseph was a moving, eloquent read - one that will leave echoes with you after the last page is turned. Read an excerpt of The Other Joseph.
You can connect with Skip Horack on Twitter as well as on his website.