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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.