A Lifetime to Die


Fiction - Drama
410 Pages
Reviewed on 12/08/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

P. S. Meronek would like to thank everyone who has been kind enough to read his work. He doesn’t live a whole lot differently than some of the more notable characters in his books. He admits it has been a road less traveled, but worth every step along the way.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Barbara Garcia for Readers' Favorite

A Lifetime to Die is a sweeping tale of loss, heartache, and desperation, but ultimately of determination, justice, love, and happiness. Author P.S. Meronek paints a vivid picture of the life and times of Aristotle Mercury in 1968 Prague. Barely getting by after the loss of his father, he and his mother make do, but it didn't have to be that way. Aristotle learns that his Uncle Jake, owner of Mercury Textiles, swindled his parents out of their rightful part ownership in the business. Once his mother passes, he vows he will find a way to get it back. After a shocking revelation and actions on his part, Aristotle must flee the country and makes his way to New York. Through hard work, quick learning, and people that see his potential, Aristotle is on the fast track to building his own empire, and that much closer to accomplishing something never far from his mind - revenge.

A Lifetime to Die is riveting and drew me in right from the start. I was captivated by the everyday life of 1968 Prague, and the way in which Aristotle overcame the obstacles in his life. From the hardships he and his mother faced, to the varied, multicultural inhabitants of Greenwich Village, author P.S. Meronek lays it all out in rich detail. This story is bittersweet in many ways. I found myself loving Aristotle and rooting for him wholeheartedly. All of the characters were fully developed, and their quirky traits were equally as endearing. I highly recommend this book, and am certain that P.S. Meronek will be a rising star with works like this.

Katelyn Hensel

P.S. Meronek is a name I never heard before reading A Lifetime to Die, but now the thriller lover in me will never be able to forget him! The cover was really cool. I loved the play of shadows and light with the silhouette of a woman. It made for a very attractive and alluring cover which I'm sure will draw in fans and newbies alike. However, it didn't quite go with the story. I like it when you can pinpoint a certain moment in the book on the cover, or see an image of what the main character is supposed to look like. Still, the cover is pretty eye-catching. Simple, but it works.

As for the story, we meet our hero, Aristotle Mercury, in the late 1960s in Europe. Prague is being overwhelmed by the Red Army and their tanks. Aristotle discovers some secret, disturbing information about his father. Family drama and betrayal are at the heart of this piece, invoking truly Hamlet-esque imagery, situational drama, and tragedy that really sticks with you even when you've put the book down. Things like brutal Communist-era prisons and grisly, staged murders are things that will haunt the reader for a while. We then travel with Aristotle and his father through a struggling Europe over to the Americas, and although they had to run, Aristotle - Telly to his friends - never forgets the revenge that burns inside him for the wrongs done to him and his father.

This book was quite a wild ride. I love it when you get to "see" various locations in the heart of a novel, and I got my fill of exotic places, historical moments, and cool settings in A Lifetime to Die. The plot was great, full of traditional thriller elements. Every fan of the genre will enjoy this gritty, tough, and exciting read.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

P.S. Meronek has written a stunning story of life itself. A Lifetime to Die tells the story of Aristotle Mercury, better known as Telly. It tells of the betrayal of his family by his uncle, the deaths of his parents, and his escape from Czechoslovakia just as Communism started to take hold. It tells the story of his arrival in America and his bid to make something of his life before he takes his revenge on the man who stole everything from him. Telly lives a full life, becoming one of the greatest developers in America, with a name that no one forgets. The story takes us through his life of hard work, determination, and courage. Through his marriage and the birth of his daughter, through sadness and sorrow and bitter triumph, Telly’s story must be told. A stranger from his past arrives on his doorstep and turns his life on its head, revealing a twist of fate that he would never have known, leading to decisions that have far-reaching effects.

P.S. Meronek has given us another stunning story in A Lifetime to Die. Written in his inimitable style, flying from past to present and back again, this is a story told from the heart, almost as if it were personal experience. It’s a wonderfully written novel of courage and determination, of love and sorrow, with tears of happiness and sadness. It’s a story that will have you holding your breath, shedding tears, and laughing all at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can honestly say I didn’t want it to end!

Jean Hall

Aristotle Mercury is a 16-year-old boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Prague in 1968 is grim with the threat of Soviet oppression and this adds to his family troubles. But Aristotle "Telly" and his loving mother make the best of things. P.S. Meronek, in A Lifetime To Die, weaves a compelling tale of tragedy and redemption from a humble cloth. Telly's Uncle Jake, who heads Mercury Textiles, seems to have it all. Telly's family should be half-owner of the corporation. But Aristotle's father dies in an accident and the legal papers disappear. Then the family's apartment suddenly goes up in flames. Telly's mother works as an industrial seamstress but her hand is gravely injured. Then Telly gets a job with Mercury Textiles to construct a new building and to get closer to Uncle Jake. There are many mysteries and crimes which Aristotle will uncover in his search for the truth. His uncle may be at the center of a deep conspiracy.

P.S. Meronek led me from clue to clue to uncover the family mystery like a tantalizing path of breadcrumbs. The character of Aristotle is fully developed over the span of 31 turbulent, romantic and triumphant years. I wanted to know more about Telly's father and the brutal way the textile corporation had manipulated his family. There are many sympathetic characters, too, with a courageous priest in the mix. A Lifetime To Die by P.S. Meronek is a suspenseful journey that leads to a complex and surprising conclusion.

Kayti Nika Raet

A Lifetime to Die by P.S. Meronek begins in Prague in 1968. Young Aristotle Mercury and his mother are barely scraping by while his Uncle Jacob has become the biggest name in business in Russian-occupied Czechoslovakia. A selfish, greedy man, Uncle Jacob has done more to harm the family than to help it. Aristotle discovers that Jacob not only faked his brother's death (Aristotle’s father), but also shunted him into an asylum for the criminally insane and cheated Aristotle’s parents out of owning half the company. Armed with this new knowledge and with Uncle Jacob's goons hot on his heels, Aristotle flees to America, vowing revenge.

A Lifetime to Die is a fast paced enjoyable tale of revenge, obsession, and one man's drive to succeed mixed in with the European immigrant experience. Aristotle is a compelling character, very self assured and driven, whether it be in business of vengeance. A Lifetime to Die is told in five parts and while it's primarily a story about vengeance it's also a coming of age story spanning from the Sixties all the way to the cusp of the 21st century. Meronek's writing is very spare, his words are precise, and his novel isn't filled with any superfluous fluff which is very refreshing. All in all, I thought it was a very enjoyable read and I’d be interested in what else Meronek has to offer.

Michelle Randall

Our story begins in Czechoslovakia, where a young man, Aristotle Mercury, is living with his mother after the death of his father. A Lifetime to Die follows Telly, as he tries to make his way as a young man, only to have to escape his home to America. Once in America, he builds his life and business beyond what anyone probably thought he was able to do. He experiences the joys and heartaches of life, and through it all is a deep desire to right a wrong done to his parents many years ago. This driving force it what propels him from being just a carpenter to a businessman and developer. P.S. Meronek takes the all-American dream of making it big, and translates it to this young refugee with superb skill. You will root for and cry with Telly from the beginning to the end of the book.

This saga follows one man through his life, and although he has a goal to right a wrong, he never seems to let it overtake him. He keeps a good balance on life. A Lifetime to Die starts in Czechoslovakia and travels to America, although truthfully it could have been from anywhere. It follows Telly, from teen to late fifties, almost a lifetime. P.S. Meronek does a wonderful job in this tale to reignite your belief in the American dream, and even more the ability of it to be achieved without selling your soul to the devil. It is a truly believable tale that you won't want to put down until you turn the last page.