The Golden Man

A Story From the Helen Tamzarian Papers

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
176 Pages
Reviewed on 09/11/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

The Golden Man: A Story from the Helen Tamzarian Papers by Thomas J Black is a farcical comedy that seeks to examine our obsessions and preconceptions at the end of the second decade of the 21st century. The story is a collection of journal events documented by well-known, celebrated, and frequently reviled journalist Helen Tamzarian, who principally writes for Midtown’s newspaper, The Daily Stone. Helen describes her personal life as a “train-wreck” and it would be hard to see it any other way. She’s been to rehab on multiple occasions and yet still subscribes to a daily cocktail of mind-altering drugs known as “Cartwheels”, among others, that can keep her awake for days on end. Her sexual preferences are fluid and it isn’t that uncommon for her to awaken in someone else’s bed or with a stranger beside her in her own bed. What she does do well, though, is write and when a mysterious “super-hero” nicknamed Goldenman shows up in Midtown to “clean up the crime”, Helen is suspicious of his true motives and sets out to interview him. With special access to Midtown’s biggest employer and industrialist, Joe Braxton, Helen is in a privileged position to watch the drama unfold as Braxton issues a challenge to the Goldenman.

The Golden Man is at times genuinely funny, insightful, and raises questions that are absolutely relevant in today’s troubled times. Author Thomas J. Black has created a cast that is drawn to extremes, which perfectly suits the farcical nature of the story. I couldn’t help but think of Metropolis and Superman as the inspiration for Midtown and Goldenman. The points the author raises about power and absolute power corrupting absolutely couldn’t be more pertinent than they are right now in the America of 2020. The fact that Goldenman was from the religious right just added to the interest and conjecture. Helen, as a character, was particularly likable and easy to empathize with. Despite her reliance on drugs just to get through the day, it was easy to see her deep care, concern, and identification with others. She was not self-absorbed and was well aware of her own failings and faults. I am guessing this book is part of a series revolving around the “Tamzarian Papers” and if that is the case, I admit, I’m interested to read more. Funny, irreverent, and at time downright hilarious, I enjoyed this read.