Robert J. Duperre, author of The Fall and Dead of Winter, now presents Silas, a contemporary fantasy novel.
Ken Lowery is a man at odds with his life. He hates his job, is disappointed in his marriage, and feels resigned to leading a mundane existence.
That all changes when his wife brings home a rambunctious Black Labrador puppy named Silas, who forges a remarkable connection with Ken and begins to heal his inner turmoil. When some neighborhood children start to go missing, he takes it upon himself to protect those around him and is thrust into a surreal world where monsters roam. Not everything is what it seems to be, he soon discovers, including his new best friend.
Ken Lowery is a thirty-something man with no children, a ho-hum marriage, and a mediocre job that isn’t in the field he holds a degree in. Growing more dissatisfied with his life by the day, he’s a jerk to just about everybody around him. When his wife buys a black lab puppy named Silas in an attempt to draw Ken out of his shell and to give herself someone to take care of, Ken openly despises the pup and his wife. But a unexpected heart attack leaves him vulnerable and at home for several weeks, and he soon grudgingly bonds with the lovable pup.
Ken and Silas are soon drawn into the investigation of a series of missing girls from his area, and as the man and his dog grow closer, Ken grows into a deeper depression as he fixates on the cases of the missing girls. As he finally hits rock bottom, the proverbial crap hits the fan and Ken and Silas find themselves in a parallel earth with a mission to perform. This requires Ken to put others before himself, and along the way he finally grows up, mans up, and discovers what has been missing in his life all along. And most importantly, what he needs to do once he makes it back to his earth, if he can make it back.
Robert Duperre’s prose paints a vivid image of a broken man barely existing throughout the first half of the book. You can feel Ken’s malaise, his dissatisfaction with how his life has turned out so far, and even his jealousy when his wife’s life takes a turn for the better. The first part of the book even seems to drag a little because you feel so much of Ken’s pain as if you were in his “it sucks to be him” shoes.
As more of a cat lover than a dog person, the transformation that Ken undergoes as a reluctant dog owner to proud dog dad is so believable and adorable. By the end of the book, and throughout the parallel world, Ken would kill for and sacrifice himself for Silas. Robert Duperre is obviously a dog lover because someone who doesn’t love dogs and coexist with one on a daily basis wouldn’t be able to nail all of the details with such clarity and finesse, or make such a clear emotional impact when putting those thoughts on paper.
The parallel world is described in enough detail that you can picture perfectly the sights, smells, even the temperatures. And the creatures are definitely creepy and strange, but you can imagine them easily. The journey Ken and Silas have to take is hard, dangerous, and tricky–but it’s necessary to set things right in both worlds.
I give this one a five out of five. An unforgettable depiction of the good and bad of everyday life, and the special things ways that having a pet can make one’s life better. This is a great contemporary fantasy novel that will stick with you for a long time. And it’s another one that did make me cry at times.
Don’t forget to check back here on Tuesday, September 6 for a special Indie Spyglass for Robert Duperre’s blog tour stop for this book. I’m featuring an interview with Ken and Silas! It’s a fun and very insightful interview. And you can enter to win a copy of the book! See you Tuesday.