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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Last Professional by Ed Davis is a slice-of-life drama novel that follows the story of a young man who finds himself living the boxcar life to overcome the baggage of his past. Set in the early 80s, the book follows twenty-six-year-old Lynden Hoover, a computer programmer working for a tech company in Silicon Valley. An inappropriate encounter with his boss takes Lynden back to the trauma he suffered fifteen years ago when a man kidnapped him as a child and subjected him to sexual abuse. A burning desire to confront his assailant forces Lynden to embrace the boxcar life. Soon, he befriends The Duke, a homeless drifter who mentors him on the ways of the tracks. However, the relentless pursuit of an old nemesis put both of them in mortal danger.
Author Ed Davis masterfully captures the subtleties of boxcar life, giving the narrative a sense of authenticity that makes it riveting to read. The characters are layered, with complex motives that provide plenty of conflict and agency to their actions. Lynden and The Duke's dynamic provides the narrative thrust to the plot. The camaraderie and friendship that the two men share feel like the heart of the story, and it covers most of the emotional moments in the book. The Last Professional accurately portrays the sense of adventure and looming dangers that come with living a nomadic life. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found myself hooked from start to finish. If you love intimate slice-of-life tales, this is the book for you.