10,000 Promises is a dark story about a promising philosophy student whose life radically changes when he meets the love of his life. When Marcel Turnbloom sees Erica Hays for the first time, he knows that it is love at first sight. It doesn’t matter that Erica is fifteen years his senior and that she has a son Marcel’s age. To complicate matters, Spencer, Erica’s son, lives in the same rental unit and is attending the same college as Marcel. Amid the irony, Spencer and Erica have secret trysts. Mitch, Erica’s jealous and manipulative husband, suspects that she is having an affair with Marcel. When Mitch plots to destroy Marcel’s future, Marcel has no idea that his life is about to turn into a living nightmare.
Billy McCoy’s newest novella resembles something straight out of The Twilight Zone. McCoy’s protagonist, Marcel, is intelligent but naive about love. Nonetheless, he is convinced that he understands the meaning of love based on all of his philosophical gleaning from the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and his favorite, Alain Locke. But unbeknownst to Marcel, as well as Erica, he is about to enter the diabolical world of Mitch Hays, McCoy’s antagonist, when he suddenly finds himself in jail.
McCoy’s third-person narrative grabs readers from the get go with Marcel and Erica’s love interest. But the plot gets spotty as the narrative deepens, and the characters also need further developing. Additionally, pertinent bridges to illuminate various scenes are missing. A good character example is Erica. McCoy mentions that she is indecisive and possibly bipolar, but there is no further defining elements in her background to help readers draw their own conclusions. A good plot example takes place when the scene drastically changes and Marcel is suddenly caught in the throes of prison life. It is not until several chapters later that his situation is somewhat explained. In the meantime, readers grapple with confusing scenes between Marcel’s surreal surroundings and his hallucinations.
While 10,000 Promises lacks character and plot development, McCoy’s unique storyline has great potential; readers should anticipate McCoy to become a rising author of twisted novels.
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