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Reviewed by Grace Masso for Readers' Favorite
Outposts by Sean Akerman is a compelling literary novel that is soaked in mystery, following a nameless protagonist and narrator as he embarks on a project — a very promising one — in the hope of getting his breakthrough; living off writing. A year after graduating from college, he is commissioned to write the biography of Nestor Dunn, a writer of great literature, reclusive artist, monster, and a man he thinks should be “approached from the perimeter.” If he screws up, he will end in financial squalor, and he does screw up. His adventure as he researches the life of Nestor Dunn takes him to intriguing places, including bars, strip clubs, even cemeteries, and cities. The story opens with the narrator meeting the estranged daughter of the enigmatic writer; Emma, a girl that fascinates him in many ways. With money running out and creditors on his heels, the narrator eventually retreats to his own rural roots where he understands himself and discovers the missing key to a future that could be his.
Outposts is a fascinating story with a wonderful cast of characters. The author creates scenes that are vividly described, transporting readers to places that are at times haunting, at times just beautiful to imagine. The characters are fleshed out and fully-drawn, believably written, and immersed in a world that feels real and mysterious at the same time. The story is told in the first-person narrative voice, a voice that is strong and arresting. There is a quirkiness that seeps through the narrative voice that had me gripped. The protagonist has a way of looking at life that captured my attention and kept me curious as I followed him from one adventure — or misadventure — to the next. Sean Akerman writes in an elegant manner and creates worlds that are filled with imagery and exciting to explore.