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July 12, 2014

SCARY MAN by Jeffrey Hickey

One man, his wife, and their daughter embracing
a new normal at the turn of the 21st century
in America, trying their hardest in the land of 
the free, and the home of the afraid.
(from back cover)
Jeffrey Hickey
Scary, Man
As a professional storyteller and teacher, Griffin Donnelley has a mesmerizing way with words. In fact, it has enabled him to cut quite a swath through the small towns in California where he teaches in schools and performs in bookstores and town halls. Nonetheless, he just can’t seem to catch a break, and is chugging along in his Camry from gig to gig, heading straight for utter burnout. Is there still time to reroute his faltering existence, or is his future looking decidedly scary? Droll and dead-on in its sizing up of contemporary culture, Scary, Man is author Jeffrey Hickey’s wry and singular story of one man, his wife, and their daughter. Together, they embrace a new normal at the turn of the twenty-first century in America, while trying their hardest in the land of the free, and the home of the afraid. As Griffin shuffles from one appearance to the next as a man working in the world of children, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to the fears and suspicions of others. He also has plenty of his own well-earned, obvious flaws that feed into the small-town gum-flapping. At the same time, his wife Samantha, who runs a home day care, is on the brink of her own existential malaise. This propels her to follow her calling as a teacher, going back to school and creating some distance between herself and her family. To add further complexity to family life, their canny, candid daughter Clare has her own identity crisis that’s ready to emerge. An absorbing work of literary fiction peppered with gay themes and social commentary, this humor-inflected take on small towns, small minds, rumor mills, and rampant paranoia will strike an all-too-familiar chord with readers trying to make their way through the shaky American landscape, while keeping marriage and morals intact, and mayhem at bay. It will leave readers nodding in queasy recognition, while at the same time scratching their heads at the plight of the protagonist who is plenty bright, but who just can’t seem to get it right. Scary, Man is author Jeffrey Hickey's third novel. His first two novels, The Coach's Son and Morehead have each earned 5 star ratings from ForeWord Clarion Review, along with other great critical acclaim. He was recently invited to give one of his well known readings in Limerick, Ireland, at the famous White House Bar. Literary Aficionado Magazine has written, "Jeffrey Hickey has that ability to inform and entertain simultaneously, and as he continues to prove to his readers, he has the ability to create unforgettable characters - not too far removed from the status of Holden Caulfield."

Paperback, 442 pages
Published September 2013 by Bignboo Productions
original title Scary, Man
ISBN 1484819268
(ISBN13: 9781484819265)
edition language English

Jeffrey Hickey Novelist Jeffrey Hickey is the author of The Coach’s Son and Morehead. His works for children, Wages Creek and Bats and Bones, will be re-released in 2014. He is currently writing his next work for adults. These works, along with his new novel Scary, Man, can be found in print, Kindle, and audio books. A family man who deeply loves his wife, twin sons, and late parents, the author is also close with many of his neighbors, and cherishes the memory of every single friend, past and present. He loves where he lives now, and where he used to live. He also appreciates people who buy his work, because that’s how he makes his living.

REVIEW This is a story that I feel many can relate to.   What it's like to live where everybody knows your business.   And there isn't anything like spreading the word. Of course, we always have to add a little on to it.  Then each time it's told it gets bigger and bigger and it doesn't end up how it originally started.  Most of us have probably been on one or the other side of the stick.  Not pleasant either way. Griffin Donnelley has taken so much that he is finally fed up.  Enough is enough.  He finally feels it is time to face his perpetrators.  Courage is a wonderful thing is we just don't wait too long to let it come into play.My heart went out to Griffin.  When he finally got that courage to use his voice and stand up, my heart felt a lot of things, glad, sad, and wanting to stand up and holler, "You get um, Griffin!" I felt that a great deal that Griffin was going through was something I could relate to.This book was written as if happening right now, today.  Scary Man wasn't so much that Griffin was a scary man.  It was the gossip and the rumors that kept being added on to as each person repeated it that caused him to appear as a scary man.  It's sad to think that we as, supposed caring human beings, can be so cruel and a lot of that cruelty happens through rumors and plain old gossip.   Those two things can destroy a person, can hurt deeply and leave scars for the rest of that person's life.  If this is your life,  STAND UP!  Squelch the rumors and the gossip.  If you can't, at least try to.

In this case I think the rumors and gossip brought out the best of Griffin.  He stood up and found his voice to fight back.

I would recommend this book to anyone.  Don't be taken aback by the title.  There's way  more behind it.

I was given a complimentary copy of SCARY MAN from the author, Jeffrey Hickey for my view of the book. No other compensation took place.

I would give this book 5 STARS.

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