Title: The Fifteenth of June by Brent Jones
Genre: Currently #721 in Best Seller’s Rank for Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, Sagas
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC
Publication Date: February 2017
The Fifteenth of June – Eye-catching cover (The bench holds significance.)
What is it that makes us step outside our comfort zone to sample a graphic scene filled plot we wouldn’t usually consider? Perhaps it is the chance to be an anonymous, albeit disapproving voyeur in a train wreck.
Such is the case when I read emotionally charged The Fifteenth of June by Brent Jones. His protagonist, Drew Thomson, is a deeply flawed 28-year-old alcoholic who realizes after five years living with Heather that he really doesn’t love her. Drew moves from her apartment with no job, no digs of his own, and no prospects. His contacts are from previous employment where he was fairly successful but crushingly unhappy, and his antisocial behavior seems exacerbated by the lack of any sense of direction. There is no future. There is only the past and it was dark.
Drew lost his mother and his dad his wife to senseless violence, the ruination of the family unit. The reader is fed bits and pieces of the depressive cloak both he and his father wear, weighing on their shoulders and crushing their lives. His brother keeps a dark secret of his own, has gone his own way, and is estranged by both.
Circumstances afford him a small apartment, devoid of furnishings or personality. He manages a new job that has also afforded him a new sexual interest, moderately interesting and mystifying at the same time and Kara becomes the only point in toughing out another bleak, unsatisfying position, which he controls with booze and drugs.
Drew hits the bottom of the pit at the same time as his terminally ill father passes away. Out of the pit arises Sierra, a new female interest that grudgingly appeals to Drew in an annoyingly psychoanalytical fashion. She gets him, accepts him, and gently guides him in a way that his father failed to do. Perhaps his father led him on the wrong path and he followed, too numb to create his own.
Sometimes it takes hitting the bottom to recognize a motivation and possible reward for climbing out of the pit. Is it possible to turn his life around? Does he even want to? Is it for Sierra or for himself? Or is his newly found “self-truth” reason enough for the celebration of life?
This novel should have come with an R-rated warning for language, sexual content, and graphic drug induced situations (and no, that doesn’t mean I’ll entertain new offers for more of the same). It illustrates another world in lurid terms. I would question whether Drew, as a protagonist, is wholly sympathetic for most readers. It is in his revelations of self where he begins to mature and garner empathy. Sierra is strongly fleshed out and becomes a driving force for possible change.
The graphic content is eventually off-put by the moral examination of that age-old battle: Is it ever too late to turn it around? There is hope for tomorrow in a new day. Change is possible–are you ready? Close your eyes if you must, but be prepared for a heavy life lesson and a feel-good ending as the author graphically demonstrates the road from despair to reawakening hope.
I received this book free for review and it is a biting, successful debut effort remarkably free of edit errors from Brent Jones. Recommended read.
Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars
The Author: Brent Jones won a national creative writing competition at the age of fourteen and has been involved in one aspect of writing or another since. He gave up his freelance career as a social media manager before Christmas last year to write full time. When he is not writing or creating beautiful promotional graphics for the web, he enjoys cycling, playing his guitar, and is the proud owner of two dogs who would probably write stories of their own if they possessed opposable thumbs and their own computer. One will be highlighted in his upcoming second novel to be released in August. Catch him on his newsletter (AuthorBrentJones.com) or follow him on Twitter. ©2017 Virginia Williams