Vic is in his early thirties. He has a beautiful wife, solid finances, no children to worry about, an enjoyable and rewarding job and even a cat that likes him. He also likes to play golf with his friends, but has never been more than a mediocre player. All of this changes when a stray golf ball hits him in the head and forever alters the perception of his marriage, his finances, and his golf game. He realizes his marriage is wretched, he wants a different house, but most importantly, his golf game has improved dramatically because of some otherworldly advice he received while in a coma.
Difficult Lies by Christopher Werkman has a title with many double entendres. There are the lies he tells his wife, his neighbor, his friends at work, his dates; there are lots of golf games with difficult shots and even more difficult opponents, but the real story is about the lies he tells himself. While he excels at golf, it only points out to him how much he has missed in other ways.
The story’s plot is well woven, always having a sense of where it is going. The protagonist is believable, regretfully; he seems to have taken very little opportunity to measure himself against anything meaningful and carries a lot of emotional baggage. The prose is well written and an easy read. Werkman puts you into Vic’s head the whole time. Vic is not a particularly clear thinker, and the book sometimes drags a bit as Vic’s thoughts continually cover the same ground without any resolve. I found myself skimming pages of repetitive ruminations to arrive at the next bit of development. The characters are well drawn, mostly likeable; I could easily picture them and enjoy Vic’s interactions. Vic does seem a little juvenile at times, and the book could have been a lot shorter. Even so, I enjoyed reading it and was cheering for Vic to make some sense of his life by the end.
|Rogue Phoenix Press
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