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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.