Radiance by Louis B. Jones

By Louis B. Jones
Counterpoint, $24.00

From the publisher:

"Death – not some spooky or religious or abstract idea of it but just the
practical everyday ingredient in nature – is everywhere close, everywhere
a comfortable cool medium to thrive in, right against the skin as it is.
At an age that struck him as premature (fortytwo), a certain nondescript,
unremarkable ordinary person (named Mark Perdue, an academic physicist who
happened to be visiting Los Angeles) was having this surprisingly serene
commonplace realization, that when death does come – if not right this
minute, then someday – it will turn out to feel rather like the solution
at the end of an old math problem."

Thus begins RADIANCE with an introduction of Mark Perdue––a once-lauded
physicist, now a self-proclaimed "has-been"–– tired of his life, or as he
calls it, "the universal unavoidable business of being, or seeming,
'happy'." Mark hasn't produced a new idea or published a paper in twenty
years. At home his wife avoids him after a recent late-term abortion and
there's no longer any doubt that he's losing his mental faculties to a
case of chronic Lyme disease. Elected to accompany his ambitious teenage
daughter Carlotta to Los Angeles for the weekend to attend an American
Idol-inspired "Celebrity Singing Vacation" (musical talent not required,
promises the brochure), Mark silently hopes for a heart attack. But in the
whimsy of events that unfold during this fateful weekend trip, Mark ends
up in jail and finally glimpses a hint of what he really needs to be

Author Louis B. Jones was new to me. I'd not heard of his other works or read anything by him. Radiance has changed that for me.  What a fabulous discovery!

All of the "action"  takes place during  the span of a weekend. Or,  more literally, the characters are at "life altering" crossroads during the book's weekend time frame. With much attention to the details of minute to minute life, author Jones is a true wordsmith. He breathes life into every carefully chosen word.

And that's the only double-edged sword that I found in Radiance. I wanted Jones to just get on with Mark's story.  I soon realized that the words and phrasing that Jones used were as much a part of the story as his interaction with each and every character.

I liked this book  and enjoyed seeing Perdue's California as the backdrop for his truly messed up life. I liked the way Jones wove the stories together,   I cared about Mark, Lotta and Blythe! I wanted to see what was going to happen to them.

 I gave it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. I like a bit more "action" to my stories, I wanted a bit more story. BUT if that's the only fault, then it's a good read.

This review copy  was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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