Fiction - Science Fiction
343 Pages
Reviewed on 01/26/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joel R. Dennstedt, born and raised in San Diego, California, lived 15 years in Alaska, the setting for Orange Cappuccino. In 2012, he embarked on a lifetime journey to travel the world.

Dennstedt is a staff journalist and contributor to The Yucatan Times, a major online publication based in Merida, Yucatan, MX. He has also served on the Travel Secrets TV-Mexico Advisory Board.

The author is currently (2016) traveling through the countries of Central America and South America. He is hard at work writing his latest novel, IN THE CHURCH OF THE BLUE-EYED PROPHETS - A work of literary fiction

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Joel R. Dennstedt pens an adventurous science fiction thriller in Guanjo. Hidden deep within is a dream, a deep desire to experience more than the ordinary, to truly go and seek out what humankind has never seen before. This dream becomes a reality for John E. Boyd as he attempts a solo mission to seek out the members of the original Guanjo team. No one has ever heard from them, and one question haunts John; did they make it to Guanjo? And if so, did they encounter an alien life form? Risking his life, John sets out to discover the answers to these questions. His quest takes him through several dangerous light shifts through space. He encounters many odd, yet helpful humanoids. But nothing compares with or prepares him for what he finds on Guanjo.

Guanjo by Joel R. Dennstedt keeps you teetering on the edge of reality; it is truly entertainingly suspenseful. From the beginning Prologue, Dennstedt hooks the reader with mysterious, out-of-this-world action. The narrative is written in three parts which divide the plot’s development. These divisions allow the story to unfold with ease and precision. The narrative is figuratively written with metaphors which give meaning and life to the setting and characters.

Guanjo is narrated by the main character; therefore, the reader experiences his emotions, thoughts and his point of view. As the reader, you sense the changes in his personality, as Dennstedt exposes the “difference in his soul,” resulting in dynamic character growth. The cast of characters is unique; they give body and flavor to the story. However, the antagonists, the creepy demonic amphibious aliens, are what make the story truly a one of a kind science fiction read.

Robin Hollifield

Wow, this is just so amazingly written and original! It reads like an old classic yet it's interwoven with aspects of science fiction and humor. I like everything about this story, from the depressive thoughts of the narrator to the mystery of the Guanjans... This is just a very enticing plot line

Bob Moll

You'll first be impressed with the diction - complicated but not overbearing - but you'll stay for the plot. Addicting. Suspenseful. Descriptive. Relatable. Unique. Then rational thought will abandon you and you'll be drawn in fully. Huge space vessels and distant planets will begin to feel more real than the pile of dishes and the dinner yet to be cooked in the next room. Laundry will go undone and life's sundry items abandoned.
I couldn't stop until it was done and lingering images still float in my brain.
Recommend recommend recommend. You won't be disappointed. Best book I've read in a very long while

Glynis Heathcote

John E. Boyd's journey to Guanjo had me totally enthralled. I visited places I never thought I'd go, met with some interesting and sometimes scary characters. The story moves along at an easy pace and the author's description of the individual planets and people have stayed with me long after I finished reading. A haunting tale told expertly. I'm looking forward to reading more from this talented author. In a word, Brilliant!


This is such an imaginative book, covering so many things - a dogged determination for discovery, the wonder of relationships and a single minded perseverance to carry out what one man believes to be his calling.
The book is split into three clear sections, each capturing the reader by the throat. It starts with a journey; and boy what a journey. Will John E Boyd make it against all advice and odds to Guanjo? Make it he does, and the pace of the book changes as we are introduced to the Guanjans and their world. Once the characters are all firmly embedded in your hearts, the idiosyncrasies of their world are slowly revealed... and prepare to be disturbed! Part three offers a stunning conclusion not to be missed.
I will never look at a frog in the same way again.... Thanks Joel!!!


I just finished reading, and the author is a master of unique characters and locale's. John E. Boyd, the protagonist, suffers from depression, a vicious ex-wife, and a crazed robot cat. Despite despising the main character by the end of the book, itself a masterful writer's ploy, the book is thoroughly enjoyable and kept me coming back for more. Memorable characters, from Adil the street urchin under far away stars, to Dalia his ex-wife doctor who will always eclipse him, to John himself, depressive adventurer. Worth a read, indeed. I will be looking up some of his other titles


Guanjo is pure imagination. From the beginning of the book, you are invited along on a journey. John Boyd is fascinated with the fate of the lost team of Guanjo, and is determined to visit the planet himself and find out what became of them. It takes him a while to get there, and the book at this point, had a road-trip feel to it. He meets many engaging characters along the way, not least of all Bob the bot cat. At times you feel like he is never going to make it. But make it, he does. He finds Guanjo, and the people who now inhabit it. But he soon finds that all is not as it seems, as the Guanjan's have made a ghastly compromise in order to survive. I don't want to give too much away, but I will just say that my brother has a phobia of frogs, and I now have a cruel desire to buy him this book for Christmas! How the writer scares, horrifies, repulses and fascinates the reader with a creature as seemingly harmless as the frog, is all part of the genius of this book. I enjoy this author's style, and as with his other novels, this book is extremely well written and executed. I can't wait for more.