Auguste and The Condition

Fiction - Thriller - General
327 Pages
Reviewed on 09/25/2015
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Author Biography

M. L. Sanford is a freelance writer and author, living in Decatur, Georgia for the past thirty years. He loves all fiction genres (well, almost all) but is particularly fond of mystery, suspense and thrillers, with an occasional dose of romance weaved in for that extra spice that benefits all good tales. At the culmination of a thirty-four year career as an Architect, Mark wanted a change. Since then, Mark has put his heart and soul into a writing career, creating stories that enlighten, delight and even fright.
All of his novels contain some level of mystery or suspense, sometimes dark, and sometimes set at places around the world. His writing style has hints of, and similarities to, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe.
“I suppose my architectural background has something to do with that. My sense of scene details and spatial awareness, a skill needed in architecture, seems to come out in my writing. I hope it adds another layer to the reader’s experience and enjoyment of my stories.”
The mystery and suspense are not limited to novels either. Mark’s unique writing style is expressed in his short stories, possible more so, the shorts offering a less controlled and rigid environment. Some have even called them unconventional and experimental. But all his stories are equally intriguing and thought provoking. You decide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

Whoa! I just finished reading the novel released by author M.L. Sanford, Auguste and The Condition, and my first impression was just, whoa! What a ride this book takes its readers on. Follow the story of our protagonist, Auguste Kensley, and his childhood friend Raj, as they take a trip to India. Auguste hopes to find a fresh start in his life, a life that hasn't been easy from the start. Poor his entire life, and just suffering from another blow as his career as a tabloid reporter has gone south. What he finds on the pair's travels, however, is more than he could have ever envisioned. Finding love and loss, being kidnapped and held captive, only to find that he must complete The Condition, the task his kidnappers require of him in order to grant his freedom, Auguste starts to question the meaning of his life. If he doesn't complete The Condition, his beloved Jasmine will be killed, but if he does complete it, what will it mean for him?

I loved this book. Loved. It. Full of action, suspense, and psychological terror, Auguste and The Condition is just the type of book that will have readers obsessively turning the pages from start to finish. Author M.L. Sanford has done a fantastic job in creating characters that his readers will truly care about and will think about long after the story is done. If that isn't the hallmark of a great author, I don't know what is. The storyline has so many twists and turns, and the outcome was certainly unexpected, at least to this reader. Any reader who loves mysteries, thrillers, action, adventure, or a simply great work of fiction should definitely read Auguste and The Condition. I will certainly be reading the next book by author M.L. Sanford. If it's anything like Auguste and The Condition, it's sure to be a great read!

Charla White for WordsAPl

Auguste Kensley and his boyhood friend, Raj barely survives their neighborhood in the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a fatherless and only child, Auguste and his friend overcome the obstacles that would keep them in their poverty-filled world and dead by the age of 15. A fortunate meeting with a freelance news writer for tabloids provides an opportunity for Auguste to finally escape and become a man and not a statistic. Raj too takes on the family business in the U.S. and manages to survive. After a few years Auguste recognizes that he is in a dead-end job and seeks other opportunities. He selfishly suggests that his friend, Raj go abroad to visit his family while also growing the family business. Raj agrees but only if Auguste joins him.

Both friends face their own brand of terror. While Auguste’s is the focus, Raj experiences a terror much closer to home:

“The big deal? Man, now you don’t understand,” said Raj. The look of puzzlement on his face was comical to Auguste, he was so serious when it came to his problems but for Auguste’s, well, his were just silly. That was how Auguste felt about it anyway. “When you go for a visit to India,” he said, “they don’t expect you to stay a week, or even two. It’s at least a month, even more,” the treble tone in his voice rising as he got more exasperated, it getting shriller the more he talked about it.

Auguste is thrust into a world beyond his realm. He discovers love, loss, desperation, fear and despair. Kidnapped by a “crime boss” Auguste finds himself given over to a terrorist group for ransom. Sequestered into a dark hole, the terrorists break him. They isolate him for 196 days, keeping him in a constant state of the unknown. His girlfriend, Jasmine, along with Raj raise the ransom money required to release him.

His release is on one condition … and Auguste is the only one who can know about the condition. His failure to follow-through with it means Jasmine will die. Faced with yet another ethical dilemma, Auguste must decide alone what to do when that condition arrives.

“Maybe this vacation, this experience of life and death on the other side of the world, actually worked, giving me a new purpose.”

Definitely an action-packed story with a well-developed plot and characters; it demonstrates the psychological damage a victim of kidnapping faces. Furthermore, it outlines what captivity of any kind can do to a person – physically, psychologically and emotionally. Believable and well-executed.

I enjoyed reading Sanford’s book and hope to read more by him. He writes well, keeping the reader hooked throughout!

WordsAPlenty highly recommends this book with 5 stars.