Chasing Diamonds
by David T. Straw
Book-Art Press Solutions

"His hell wouldn’t be dark red caverns with fire and chains. It would be trips to the grocery store, shopping, and ordering drinks."

Everett believes the choices you make in life determine your happiness. Nothing but misery comes from rumination on mistakes, lost opportunities, or cowardice. He should know; at age 36, he is a well-liked, successful employee recruiter, a devoted father of two young girls, a faithful husband who loves his wife in the same way he loves ice cream or lacrosse, and a gentleman in a world of decreasing human connection and refinement. But his beguilement with the protective magic of childhood summers at a charmed lake, the permanent sting of an Ivy League rejection, and his conviction that pushing away his soul-mate, Scarlett, ruined his chance for romantic love, have him crying in the shower, aiming his car at trees, and contemplating an affair.

Everett is a man hollowed at his core. The real tragedy is that he knows it. Straw renders his protagonist sympathetic but excruciatingly self-aware and painfully conscious. When he mentally time travels to a universe of different, better choices, the return trip to reality is bleaker than ever. Memories of the diamond-bright lake—Everett’s touchstone and nirvana personified—only remind him that the “place that shaped him and made him who he is” has lost its power to mold.

Straw’s funny banter among coworkers, insights into power jocks, and observations on the role of choice dazzle. Unique descriptions—shutters squeeze glass windows, autumn trees are “endless coat rack[s] of colors,” soft rain makes “shimmering dimples” on the lake—enrich, despite typos and mixed tenses. This novel is a haunting story of a modern-day man who has lost his way and, tragically, knows exactly when and how he did it. This sensitive but stark portrayal of a complex man and the privilege of choice unfolds a riveting story that keeps you guessing until the end.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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