Ken Brosky

2007 Brew City Press
ISBN 978-1-4276-2054-5 259 Pages $21.95 Trade Paperback
Reviewed by Kent Knopp-Schwyn

As a first effort from a brand new press, this title comes across very well. On the physical side, the binding is clean, tight; the type face is clear, the words well spaced and there is a distinct absence of typographical errors. Clearly this new press has done its homework ensuring that their first ever product comes across as professional as those from longer established publishers.

The tale within the covers is a good first effort by a new author. While the entire project could seem to be a vanity press effort since the author is also the head of Brew City Press, it quickly becomes abundantly clear that a strong editorial hand has helped guide Mr. Brosky to craft an interesting and highly readable first novel.

Tyler Leto who has bullied and cajoled the board of directors at a mid-sized, Milwaukee based conglomerate for far too long and up until very recently, the company has been highly successful so the board and its members have put up with Mr. Leto’s tactics and antics. As the narrative opens, the company is faltering a bit along with the sputtering national economy and the board turns on Tyler ousting him from the company. Before, Mr. Leto can absorb this or take action; he experiences a heart attack and literally goes to Hell.

While his heart stopped and he was clinically dead for a brief period, a portion of Mr. Leto’s soul was captured by a fallen angel who yearns to get back to Heaven and sees Tyler Leto as his return ticket. The narrative then details how the angel abuses and convinces Mr. Leto to help him get back to Heaven and it is the author’s depiction of Hell that is most interesting throughout and keeps the readers interest.

Wisely, either though authorial insight or editorial input, after the opening set up, the bulk of the action takes place in Hell. Mr. Brosky eschews the standard Grand Guignol, instead treating the reader to a bleak and barren locale filled with lost and bereft souls experiencing almost unendurable agony.

Still, this is a first published novel for the author and it does suffer from a few of the usual flaws of overuse of descriptive passages and the need to stuff an overabundance of ideas on to the page. Also, the action lags noticeably when the action shifts back to the real world or provides lengthy detail to describe what an awful person Tyler Leto has been here in the past. Despite these quibbles, the book as a whole is fast paced and holds the reader’s interest – especially those interested in slightly offbeat religious themed horror.

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