Fiction - Science Fiction
248 Pages
Reviewed on 07/19/2013
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Blaine C. Readler's novel, Overlay, is the story of Jordan, an engineer who has the perfect girlfriend and a job that's a perfect fit for him, until he gets word from Kirsten's professor that she's in a coma. Professor Clintock assures Jordan that Kirsten's fine, just in a coma, which are two facts that seem quite at odds with each other in Jordan's mind. The note Kirsten left for him sounds ominously like a farewell letter as well, so Jordan is all too willing to do anything that Clintock advises to try and get her back to the land of the living. Clintock is a scholar of fantastic literature, and he refers to an ancient text by a medieval scholar, Exiguus, that discusses the possibilities of transference to a middle existence, a purgatory, poised somewhere between heaven and this world. Clintock's plan is for Jordan to follow Kirsten, via a dose of Rohypnol and an intricate palindrome.

Overlay has to be one of the oddest books I've ever read about the afterlife, but it's also definitely the most entertaining one. Blaine C. Readler's accounts of Jordan's adventures in the Overlay are endlessly inventive, and the action never stops. Jordan's efforts to bring Kirsten back are foiled again and again by the fiendish Boney and the perversely attractive Jones, and his allies in this quest are a motley crew. It's not all fun and games in Overlay, however; there's a good dose of metaphysical pondering and ethics thrown into the mix as well -- and the beauty of it all is that it works -- and brilliantly. Highly entertaining, endlessly inventive and definitely recommended.

Danita Dyess

Overlay by Blaine C. Readler is a work of fiction with moral overtones. The story starts simply: Jordan, an engineer, rushes to the hospital after he gets a call from a literary professor, Burney Clintock, telling him that his fiancee, Kirsten, was in an accident. It appears to be an overdose. But Kirsten was not suicidal, Jordan insists. So, the professor explains that Kirsten was probably encouraged to take some pills so she could transcend to the Overlay, another dimension between heaven and earth. Now, Jordan must go get Kirsten and bring her back. However, things don’t go as planned. He meets the infamous Jim Jones, Napoleon Bonaparte, Isaac Newton, etc. Suddenly, Kirsten’s return is eclipsed by more complex afterlife matters.

Overlay is a good book. Readler is a talented writer with the gift of a creative mind that lures readers into his “What if” scenarios of other world adventures. His characters are normal people experiencing extraordinary circumstances. I related with Jordan and identified with his initial reaction of disbelief regarding McClintock’s far-fetched explanation of the Overlay. I tried to keep an open mind when I questioned subsequent events; that is the purpose of good fiction.

Blaine C. Readler is an electronics engineer and inventor of the FakeTV. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2007 Best Young Adult and Children’s Fiction for Under The Radar, a Beverly Hills Book Award, three-time winner of the San Diego Book Award and an IPPY Bronze Medalist. Overlay is highly recommended.

Kim Anisi

Do you believe in heaven? Jordan, the main character in Blaine C. Readler's Overlay, gets to see heaven – but it might be completely different from what you imagined. When Jordan receives a call about his fiancee Kirsten being in a coma, he rushes to the hospital where he is met by Professor Clintock. Jordan is told that only he can get Kirsten back from where she went. After some confusion and disbelief, Jordan wants to try whatever he can to get his love back. Clintock goes through a little ritual with him, and to Jordan's surprise, he finds himself in another “layer” of the the world – he is like a ghost that cannot walk through walls. However, he also can be killed if he's not careful. What is this overlay and who are the other ghosts wandering around there? Where did Kirsten go and why? And how does Napoleon fit into all of this? Jordan finds himself in a world that is very different, but strangely the same.

Overlay by Blaine C. Readler is a very interesting book and very well written. The characters easily stay in your head and it's not a problem knowing who is who. The idea of different layers of the world is not a new one but the book presents the idea in a very entertaining and exciting way. It makes you wonder, though, whether heaven is really a place you'd like to go to. It's not easy to put the book aside because it completely makes you forget time. I only wanted to read a little bit one evening and ended up realizing it was past midnight when I got too tired to read on. If you are looking for a good read that's entertaining and stimulating, then this is the book you should grab!