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Reviewed by Danita Dyess for Readers' Favorite
If you could strike a deal that would make all your problems vanish overnight, wouldn't it? That is exactly what happens in the book “The Gift” by Jonathan Lynch. Michael, the main character, is a pimply-faced, thin, 17-year-old teenager struggling with the daily torment of bullying, poverty and adolescent angst. Better to just end it all, he decides. So, he gobbles a mixture of pills and a bottle of Merlot and waits for death. But it doesn’t come. Instead, Lorcien, a 6-foot, mystical man with long, black hair and a knack for transcending walls appears in his apartment. He explains how he interceded Michael’s suicide. He calls it a gift. But this bestowal exacts a price, of course. Can you ever reclaim your soul after you haplessly sold it?
This work of fiction has paranormal undertones; Lynch says he grew up reading Stephen King. This intriguing, fast-moving book requires reading some parts twice. I recognized the conflict of man versus himself and good versus evil. I enjoyed the small-town setting and I appreciated the overall simplicity, that is, a teenage boy with an age old problem. Indeed, the birth of Lynch’s son inspired this novel. But his masterful narrative technique has made the plot more complex. He is skilled at writing in a conversational tone. He understands the importance of details that help the reader relate to the character. I will read his other book, “Dead Business.” “The Gift” is highly recommended.