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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
Paul Alexander Tomenko is a man in love with two women, well, three actually if you count the actress Katherine Ross as well, but Paul and the real Katherine Ross were not destined to get together in any of his lives. Damaged Beyond All Recognition by Alan Felyk chronicles the adventures of an erstwhile if reluctant hero, Paul Tomenko, from his early life, during which his parents are killed and he is adopted by the kindly folk next door. We learn how he becomes a best-selling author at an early age, then take a leisurely journey through his college years where he makes one particularly good friend with whom he pursues the standard freshman lifestyle of imbibing copious amounts of booze and chasing women. Here he meets Margaret Mae Monahan (instantly known as Maggie Mae), a girl who Paul describes as ‘having a stick up her ass,’ but who becomes one of the loves of his life. He loses her, however, when he nobly steps aside so she can fulfill her undeniable potential and pursue a career on a secret government project. After his graduation and further publishing success, Alina Briarsworth enters his life as a live-in secretary and becomes the second love of his life. That is not to say his affection for Maggie Mae has diminished; he loves them both equally, ardently and faithfully.
Around this time, God enters Paul’s life. He bumps into the Supreme Being, literally, when he is briefly dead as a result of a road accident. This meeting kicks off a mind-boggling series of events that will involve him dying several times, finding that the science fiction stories penned by his secretary are not fiction after all, and getting appointed by God to help find a solution to some problems with the mechanics of the afterlife. And as if that were not enough, he becomes involved in a project to try to prevent the destruction of the entire human race. But could he possibly succeed? He is just an ordinary man, or so he believes.
Damaged Beyond All Recognition starts as a relatively simple story of a successful author in love with two women, but rapidly develops into a complex tale involving aliens, God, the afterlife, and the structure of time and the universe. I found the narrative slow to begin with but gradually increasing in pace and complexity as it went on. Well-written, with a cast of solid characters, romantic and funny at times, there are many changes of mood throughout the book. One part of the story line involving the storage and re-positioning of 114 billion souls had me wondering whether Mr Felyk had indulged in a particularly heavy liquid lunch. Sorry, I can’t explain it, you’ll have to read the book. Though some of the concepts discussed were sometimes hard to comprehend, I enjoyed the book and do not hesitate to recommend it.