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Posted December 1, 2012
I felt a little anxious before I even turned that first e-page of More Deaths than One.
I had never read a book written by anyone I knew before.
While I’ve never actually met the author, Pat Bertram, in person I do consider her to be a good online friend and a valuable writing ally.
What feels even odder to me than reading a published book by someone I know is sitting down and writing a review of a book written by someone I know, and one I count as an e-friend to boot. It’s even worse than that initial “What will they think?” phase of writing subject matter you perhaps wouldn’t want to write home to mother with.
And, perhaps, I should feel a little bit of guilt in not actually buying the book. I got the e-book when she was offering it up free to anyone who wanted it. But, I don’t regret it. Pat also never asked me to do a review on it. This, I do of my own volition – much to her chagrin or delight, all depending on what she thinks of my review I guess.
And so, with a small amount of trepidation, I turned that first e-page and eased my way into what may conceivably have turned into a dead man’s life.
Our hero, Bob Stark, is mostly notable for his very essence of being un-notable. In fact, he is so un-notable that even the people who know him seem to have trouble recognizing him when they first see him. This very plainness draws you in, making you like him for his simplicity and empathize with him for that unwanted feeling of invisibility that we all share at times.
His ordinariness also proves to be essential to the story. In fact, his very plainness plays you right into believing the possibility of the truth that comes out later in the story. You’ll have to read the story to find out why.
The story starts with the very ordinary Bob Stark having a very ordinary hot chocolate in the Rimrock Coffee Shop, where his solitude is intruded on by his waitress making a rather ordinary attempt at flirting with him.
Unfortunately for Stark, the ordinariness of his life ends there.
Stark learns from the newspaper that his mother, Lydia Stark, has passed away – again. Yes, after burying his mother once already, the woman apparently has died a second time, 22 years later.
Convinced it has to be a hoax, Stark decides to show up for his mother’s second funeral.
All the usual people are at the funeral, friends and family, including Stark’s old college girlfriend Lorena Jones. Stark watches the funeral as an outsider only to find himself with more than one shock. Not only does the funeral appear to be entirely real, the man his old girlfriend is with comes as a big shock too. Bob Stark finds himself staring at none other than Bob Stark. But how can this be? How can he be watching himself at his own mother’s second funeral?
Stark soon finds himself pulled along an inevitable series of events, his newly befriended waitress Kerry Casillas at his side.
Stark’s search for the truth draws him deeper into a web of secrecy, and deeper into danger as the pair find themselves trying to stay one step ahead of someone who seems intent on catching them.
He soon learns that the road to the truth lies in his own past, a past he in part has to rediscover as if learning it for the first time.
Bob and Kerry travel to Thailand in search of answers that lead only to deeper questions.
The answers to the mystery prove to be as shocking as looking at yourself at your own mother’s second funeral.