- Title: My Dead Friend Sarah
- Author: Peter Rosche
- Genre: Literary/Suspense
- Format: Kindle
- Source: amazon
- Reviewed by: Mark Matthews
- Rating: 5 out of 5
Description: The fate of a beautiful stranger becomes a recovering alcoholic’s crippling obsession. Mere months into recovery, Max, an alcoholic with twisted control issues, meets Sarah – the same woman that for years he’s habitually dreamt will die after a botched abduction. “Doing the next right thing,” a popular AA phrase he’s picked up in the rooms, means befriending Sarah long enough to warn her and hope she takes him seriously. But when Sarah falls in love with Max, his newly sober thinking drives him to choose his overly devoted wife, and he abandons Sarah – even when it condemns her to death. When Sarah goes missing, the NYPD suspects Max’s dream may have been a pre-crime confession. The truth, all of it, lurks inside of Max, but only by drinking again does he recapture the nerve and clarity vital to free his wife, sponsor, and himself from a life imprisoned by lies.
Review: If you have ever listened to the debate over self-published books and if they are as good as traditionally published works, I invite you to read this book. It’s more hypnotizing, engaging, smart, and original, than so many books being put out by major publishers these days.
The premise of this novel, the characters, the set up, made me download with grand anticipation, and the novel did not fail to deliver. My Dead Friend Sarah is a smart and unique read that traces the thoughts of a newly recovering alcoholic who tries to respond in his new integrity-driven self to a reoccurring dream of a woman being taken captive. In trying to do the next right thing, the question is, has his sickness been squeezed right back out of him?
There’s a million AA memoirs where the main character, in finally resisting those urges to drink, stays sober and his family rushes to his side, the music plays, and now that the drink is gone, they live happily ever after. Well, as many folks will tell you, the real craziness begins once the drink is put down. What do you get when a horse-thief stops drinking? Well, you get a sober horse-thief, as the saying goes, and if you have ever been “in the rooms’ the authors descriptions of AA in the novel are incredible and worth a read by themselves.
The novel begins with a ping-pong of narrators between Max, the main character, and Sarah, the object of his bizarre dreams. The back and forth was fun, but as it went on, it did begin to get a bit tiring, mostly because I feared the whole novel would be this way, but just as it got too much Sarah disappeared and so did her narrative. The reader, like Max, is left wondering where she went.
The novel takes place in the mental topography of Max whose brain is a great place to visit. The more his thought processes began to spiral, the more the reader gets sucked in. It was like reading an Edgar Allan Poe story, trying to figure out if the main character is mad. You sort of think he’s mad, yet you find yourself having empathy for his wild self-talk. The more I explored the terrain of his brain, the more I wanted to hear him think.
I kind of have an `in’ with the topic, with my personal history of addiction recovery, working in the field of addiction, and writing my own novel of addiction. I’m thinking that if you have never waited for a liquor store to open then you would still love the novel, perhaps subtract a star, but if you are a Chuck Pahalniuk fan, add that star right back.
Ultimately, the real test of any book for me is my level of enthusiasm in reading. Did I eagerly look forward to those reading moments? Did I make extra time to fit in a page or two in between the rest of my living? Did I make sure to swing by and grab the kindle when nature called? This novel hit all of those. In fact, I dangerously gave my wife a hushing noise as she tried to ask me a question during the last pages. This novel is a great dish of work told by an untrustworthy narrator, and it is fed to the reader in great bite-sized morsels.