The Devil’s Opus
A sociopath is defined as a person with a disorder exhibited by extreme antisocial behavior and a lack of conscience. This dictionary definition perfectly fits Leo Buckman, the person at the very center of this story. Wily, wicked, and with an uncanny ability to charm and insinuate himself into people’s lives, Buckman is the consummate villain. He wanders through this small story wreaking havoc at every turn. The story opens with the Saldana family, whose son, Eddie, is best friends with Buckman. The Saldanas see the truth of things and abandon their home and son to save themselves. The story moves on to what seems a perfect family – the Mezzos, a loving couple with grown children. Readers meet Sophie Mezzo in her psychiatrist’s office as she begins to tell her story, one of love and tremendous loss. It is clear early on that Sophie’s daughter Katie, a young mother herself, is murdered, and Buckman and Eddie Saldana are part of this tragedy. The real mystery is how people with such different backgrounds come together in what becomes a maelstrom of violence.
Margaux Mannion Brown has written a compelling story of a family who seem to have found the American dream only to realize dreams can become the worst of nightmares. The story is almost entirely told through conversations, with very little showing of action. There are long passages describing people, places, pieces of music, etc. that are at best ancillary to the story. While this work could certainly use a good round of editing to cut long descriptive passages that slow the story down, to cut some unnecessary backstory, and to ameliorate some jarring point-of-view shifts, the story and characters will convince readers to continue reading and see past those problems.
|Buy this Book