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by Timothy Patrick

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4392-0922-6

Four stories and a poem encompass themes ranging from metaphysical healing to the Holocaust.

Debut writer Patrick opens with a one-page verse voiced by a man who has forgotten how to be grateful, asking himself “is it merely human essence or just a spoiled brat that makes me this way?” Four stories follow, the shortest of which–“The Final Tip”–is a clever tale narrated by an unnamed inanimate object who, after subsisting through a dark life of horrific abuse, torture and neglect, finally finds a home on a young waitress’ dresser. Humanitarian Andrea discovers she has miraculous healing powers in “Laryngitis”–simply by reading aloud the favorite books of those who are in dire health, she brings about their swift rejuvenescence. A series of accidents cripples her abilities as the increasing demand for her assistance overwhelms her and she realizes that “there’s something bigger running our universe.” The first of Patrick’s heavily populated, novella-length entries, “Baker’s Dozen,” follows a female psychotherapist who finds her hands full with a melting pot of twelve excessively needy patients. Among them are a compulsive gambler, a junk-food junkie, an overeater, a shoplifter, a sex addict, a female narcissist, an OCD victim and a clean freak–each in a state of mental and emotional disarray. The group unites for a four-week “revival camp” in the Adirondack Mountains where the interactive melodrama has surprisingly effective results. Two homosexual German guards who fall in love during Hitler’s 1941 reign in the touching tale “Nothing Much to Write Home About”–they’re among the many desperately attempting to flee Nazi Germany for an unfettered future. Textured with authentic emotion and nail-biting suspense, Patrick saved this most impressive and complicated work for last. Considering this is the author’s debut, he already appears pleasingly accomplished.

Excels in narrative quality, creativity and variety.