The Fourth Wall

Fiction - Paranormal
354 Pages
Reviewed on 03/01/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Scott Petty blends the supernatural and the atrocities of war, pushing the boundaries of fiction in his novel The Fourth Wall. United States Army Captain Thomas Jett lands in Kandahar, Afghanistan with a card up his sleeve, literally. Jett does more than just casually dabble in dimensions of the paranormal. He lives and breathes it, and is arguably in dogged pursuit of breaching the fourth wall—a portal into the fifth dimension. Before arriving in Kandahar he was chatting up ghosts who didn't know they were dead and thought they were Jett's roommates, so when he ventures beyond Kandahar to investigate grisly murders he's open-minded when locals tell him it's not the Taliban, it's a malevolent spirit not of this world. But to find out for sure it's not enough to just be opened minded; Jett needs to open that fourth wall. "You can throw sense away. There’s a lot more going on than a little criminal conduct.”

The Fourth Wall by Scott Petty is a unique approach to paranormal storytelling specifically because of its war setting, and that it was written by an Army veteran. Also unique is that it isn't politically driven and I was terrified that I was going to open a book dripping with American exceptionalism that would chant “USA! USA! USA!” It doesn't and that makes it accessible to readers who aren't American (there are billions of us). The pros are numerous. Jett is a likable character that is easy to root for. He is more interested in finding out the truth than looking crazy, and even characters who genuinely think he is crazy are still willing to work with him. Kochi, a translator who can even speak a little bit of a language that only 600 still, use is a rockstar, and so is Yvonne, who will push Jett down if he tries to shush her. There is one con with this novel and it is when a reader is thrust into a sandstorm of information dumps that can stretch many pages. I'm still happy to give The Fourth Wall five stars because, in the context of an entire story, Scott Petty dishes out a great one. Very highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

The Fourth Wall by Scott Petty is a military paranormal story with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. It begins with Captain Thomas Jett of the Army Reserve as he is on his way to Afghanistan. Thomas Jett is not your typical soldier, he has psychic powers and he is getting away from ghosts at home. However, he has no idea what the military has in store for him. Stationed at Kandahar, Thomas has to investigate some strange yet brutal murders that have terrorized innocent people. One look at the case and Thomas can tell these murders are not a work of a man but an evil spirit. Thomas takes the opportunity to hone his skills without realizing the consequences or the actual threat that lies in the shadows.

Fantastic to read and well written, The Fourth Wall took me a couple of hours to finish. Thomas Jett is the perfect protagonist; he is cynical enough to question everything but open-minded enough to look for clues where no one else will look. His abilities give him an edge, but Thomas is not overconfident; he respects the paranormal but he's confident in his abilities. The narrative is perfectly paced, the descriptions are vivid, and the narrative style is fantastic. Scott Petty's dialogues are colorful and add to the experience. Kochi is a dynamic and hilarious character. He brings comic relief but adds substance to the story at the same time. The twists and turns are so intriguing and intricate that you will have a tough time guessing what will happen next. I loved it and highly recommend it!

Keith Mbuya

Captain Thomas Jett, a U.S. Army Reservist, is experienced in law, military intelligence, and archeology, and he also knows about the occult. When the U.S. government decides to investigate a mass murder in Kandahar, Afghanistan, he is the right man for the job; however, he has no idea what awaits him there. The survivors of the massacre in Kandahar claim that a jinni is responsible for the killings and not the Taliban. To make things worse, a witch warns Jett that he may have made a big mistake coming into the country. Why so? With his own demons to fight, will Jett manage to accomplish his mission in Afghanistan? Get yourself Scott Petty’s The Fourth Wall to know how it all goes down.

Lovers of military fiction with a touch of the paranormal will find Scott Petty’s The Fourth Wall an enthralling read. Scott wastes no time picking up the pace of the plot, running a thin line between his protagonist’s past and the present. He dropped me right in the middle of all the action in Afghanistan with vivid depictions. He uniquely captures the mood and setting of the scenes, clarifying the underlying tension and terror in them. The cast is well-developed and Scott does a great job of depicting their traits and emotions. The conversations and the use of introspection made it easy for me to connect with the cast. Captain Jett is a methodical, ambitious, and witty character whose experience with supernatural beings and war leaves him no room to waver in the face of danger.

K.C. Finn

The Fourth Wall is a work of fiction in the paranormal, action, and intrigue subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Scott Petty. The book follows US Army Reservist Captain Thomas Jett as he volunteers for a tour in Afghanistan, only to find himself investigating a series of deaths in Kandahar. The locals have not accused the Taliban but instead a mystical creature that stalks the night. Realizing that conventional fighting won’t stop this new threat, Jett must devise a different way of fighting back against this monstrous threat to the region.

I was excited to read this novel upon noting the author’s personal history as a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. It did not disappoint as his insightful knowledge of the region was infused with the mystical to create a fascinating blend of reality and unreality with a supernatural threat at its core. Author Scott Petty’s skillful prose manages to tie together the two distinct genres and expertly weave them together into a meaningful tale about a soldier on a distant battlefield coming to terms with not just the threat in front of him but the demons he was trying to escape through service. Jett’s development serves as the heart of this epic story as his experiences in Afghanistan constantly provoke unexpected growth and development, taking us on a journey of one man pioneering an impossible new style of combat to fight back against an impossible foe. Overall, The Fourth Wall was thrilling, engaging, and often moving, and I'd recommend it very highly.

Jamie Michele

The Fourth Wall by Scott Petty is a paranormal military fiction novel that revolves around a Houston lawyer and Army reservist named Captain Thomas Jett and his deployment to the war in Afghanistan. Jett is a man with psychic capabilities who finds himself on a mission to investigate a string of murders in rural Afghanistan. The fourth wall, as Jett calls it, is the ability to penetrate beyond the dimensions of space and time, and transcend beyond. Jett's investigation has its lines blurred between what is happening in the here and now of a war zone, and what is otherworldly, and the haze that weaves in dreams and possibly hallucinations in between. Narrated as something akin to a stream of consciousness, Jett's interactions with others and his search for answers is frequently convoluted in a place where very little makes sense and among a deluge of pain, loss, and turmoil.

“The Fourth Wall is a path to the truth...” I was drawn to The Fourth Wall by Scott Petty partly because I come from a US military family going many generations back, and partly because I tend to be drawn toward paranormal novels. The blend of war and the supernatural was intriguing. In the interests of full disclosure, I am also a Muslim, and even though what we believe to be Jinn is not at all what is represented as 'jinni' in Petty's novel, this is fiction and artistic license is something I have respect for, so that's a free pass on the topic from me. The style of writing takes some getting used to as it is frequently choppy and often wanders out into the weeds, but Petty's strength is in character development, which is exceedingly well done, and in crafting Jett as an unreliable narrator. Among the most entertaining characters are a Russian barber, Yvonne, and a mystic tarot reader who starts rolling the ball with Jett clinging to the cards. The juxtaposition of battles that rage through Jett's psyche and those that hammer the Afghani soil is what keeps the story moving and I think readers with a little patience who are open to a lot of complex themes will enjoy the ride.