The Alexandrite: A Time-Travel Noir by Rick Lenz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Every once in a while I am asked to review a book as opposed to the ones I request from NetGalley. Most of the time I am disappointed. The plotting and writing can be uneven. On the other hand I have sometimes discovered a gem I might otherwise have missed. That is certainly the case with this book by Rick Lenz.
The cover identifies The Alexandrite as 'a time travel noir'. I have read a few time travel stories with varying degrees of satisfaction, but time travel seems to be having a moment so I thought, "Why not?"
My two basic requests of any book are interesting writing and something I haven't seen before. The Alexandrite fullfills that criteria and so much more. Rather than an imitation of any of the time travel stories with which I am familiar, it is a completely original, wonderful surprise.
THE STORY: Actor Jack Cade, is adrift. At 40, he has nothing to show but a life that is falling apart. He's having nightmares; he loses a part in a play that didn't even pay; and his wife feels they need time away from each other.
When a mysterious pawn ticket turns up in the mail, it redeems a valuable Alexandrite ring. The changing colors of the stone foreshadow the twists and turns that Jack's life will take.
Then an unexpected invitation to meet with a psychophysicist sends Jack traveling back in time where he not only meets Marilyn Monroe but gets himself killed several times before emerging to a better life.
WHAT I THOUGHT: Even though time travel is popular these days, Rick Lenz has fashioned a completely original story. His slightly off-track narrator confesses he is "barely holding it together" but he serves as an excellent guide through old Hollywood commenting on what has been replaced and what used to be.
Told with a lot of dark humor and angst, The Alexandrite is a compelling tale that is difficult to put down. Skillfully plotted, all the threads of the story weave together to make this a most worthy read.
FIRST SENTENCE: "At some unidentified point during the first time I live through the following events, it becomes as clear as my muddled brain has ever experienced clarity that most of us do not see what we see or hear what we hear; in fact, we can't tell what's going on right in front of us."
BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended. You will want to take this journey. (Besides, as it turns out Alexandrite is my alternate June birthstone.)
DISCLAIMER: Invited by the author to read his book and provide an honest review.
Title: The Alexandrite
Author: Rick Lenz
Genre: Time Travel Noir
Publisher: Chromodroid Press
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
No. of Pages: 234 pages
Copyright: August 13, 2015
Rick Lenz is a jack of all trades in show business: actor, artist, and author. Besides plays he has also written a well-received personal memoir, North of Hollywood. When Lenz is not riding away on his next kaleidoscopic quest, he can be found painting, playing the piano, or reading at home with his beloved wife, Linda. Come to ricklenz.com to discover Rick's blog, books, art, and interviews.