Monday, December 1, 2008

a review of Low Man

Low Man by T.J.Vargo

Benny Assissi's life is about as low as he thinks it can go. His good paying job is gone, moved off to somewhere cheaper, and the best job that he can find is as a night clerk in a run down convenience store. During the days, he is going to college, in an attempt to better himself. But because of that, he rarely see his wife and young son and his wife seems about ready to walk out on it all. And now his son is very sick and he can not even go to the hospital ER with his family for fear of losing the rotten job that is barely providing enough income to keep their heads above water.
But just when he thinks it can't get any worse, of course it does. The store is held up by a man at gunpoint and he is forced to open the safe. He knows that his boss will fire him if he gives over the money and in the middle of the robbery, his wife calls from the ER, desperate that he join them, because his son is much, much sicker than they thought.

Benny has met his breaking point and without really thinking about what he will do, he grabs a gun he finds under the store counter and gives chase to the robber. Shots are fired, shots that will start a course of events Benny could never have foreseen.

This book is in the horror genre and it is a terrifying and frightening journey that Mr. Vargo takes us on. I have seen it compared to the early works of Steven King and Dean Koontz and there are similarities. I am not a great fan of Mr. King's work...a bit too 'much' for me maybe...but I have read a great deal of Koontz's work and in it best parts Low Man bares some favorable comparisons.
What I like about Koontz and what I like about this book is that they are very character driven stories and have a clear moral sense. Benny's actions set off a series of events that will test what sort of person he truly is and make him decide what is really important to him and what he is willing to risk for what is really important.

Mr. Vargo paints some excellent characters in this book and it is those characters that are the strong point of the book. With the plot, I have a few issues. The central part of the book suffers from a few overly descriptive and overly long sections that could have been more tightly written with no loss to the plot. But overall, that is a fairly minor complaint that I soon forgot in the very creepy last section and in the final, morally satisfactory and uplifting ending.
I will be eager to see what Mr. Vargo writes in the future...I might suggest that the character of Sam is someone with more of a story to tell.
If you are someone who enjoys the work of Koontz or King or someone who does not mind or actually enjoys a bit of terror with your fiction, I would recommend Low Man.

Available from Amazon

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