The Emma Effect
by Gordon Bocher
Newman Springs Publishing

"Mitch was awakened by an unexplained noise. He looked up and saw the general held with the gun pointed at his head."

Although Mitch is attractive, intelligent, and a collegiate soccer player, his personal life is in shambles thanks to the help of two dominant women. Luckily for him, he gets a job offer from General Wheeler with MCI, an international mining company. Under the tutelage of the general and help from the company's psychologist, Mitch begins to heal from his mental trauma. He becomes Wheeler's right-hand man and begins a relationship with Wheeler's assistant, Emma. Emma is a very perceptive young woman, and the two build a great relationship that results in a happy marriage. However, when pregnant with their first child, Emma discovers she has late-stage cancer, and treatment will likely kill the unborn baby. In addition, the women from Mitch's past have been holding secrets they would like to reveal.

Grammatical errors rarely mar Bocher's book, and the sentences are well-written. The author demonstrates clear control over the story's pacing and works to create characters that have multiple dimensions. The main character's growth and relationships are where Bocher does his best writing. He writes with a lot of detail, a stylistic choice that comes across more as a storyteller recounting a tale rather than showing it as it unfolds. There are some sexual scenes and discussions in the narrative, but they seem more awkward than realistic at times. Still, the book has a lot of variety for the reader. It deals with characters overcoming tragedy, romance, and a harrowing experience with Taliban fighters. In many ways, it is reminiscent of a daytime soap opera, with the power to hook and reel in the audience from episode to episode.

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