A novel of human foibles and near redemption.
Tim Hoskings has been slogging through the same miserable routine for years: Wake up, grind through traffic, work a soulless job, come home to a decent if not passionate relationship, maybe go out and drink too much with his friend Todd. In the course of one week, however, Tim’s life turns upside down. Kicked out of his house for cheating and fired from his job for punching a colleague, Tim decides to clean up his act and figure out what’s really important. First up is apologizing to Derek, the man Tim slugged in the office. But, far from a straightforward meeting, Tim’s attempt lands him in a world of unfamiliar sexual practices, near tragedies, love where he least expects it and even a tattoo. Along this journey with Derek and his friend Cassandra, Tim finds himself embroiled in a plot to avenge Cassandra’s just-deceased foster mother, whose birth son, Peter, has been stealing money from her for years. Amusingly, this plan involves Tim and Derek’s participation in a porn shoot at Peter’s studio, as well as a panicked getaway. When he returns, there’s even more chaos on the home front. Tim soon begins to discover that the path to balance and happiness may, occasionally, mean getting a little crazy. Debut authorAllen has crafted a convincingly flawed protagonist whose mistakes and attempts at recompense fuel an entertaining plot. While some of the supporting characters are two-dimensional, readers will appreciate the well-tuned dialogue and unexpected settings (an S&M club, an old woman’s painting studio, the aforementioned porn shoot). While this is no in-depth investigation of the human soul, the reader will come away with a new appreciation for the lines between safe and staid, between out of control and experimental.
A fast-paced, straightforward character study that blends humor and pathos.