Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Lovely, Indecent Departure by Steven Lee Gilbert

Anna had to leave.  Caught in a marriage with a man who needed to control her every move, she left for her sanity.  But she never meant to leave Oliver, her five year old son.  When Evan, her ex-husband, tries to manipulate her through Oliver, making her joint custody more and and more difficult, she makes a momentous decision.

Since Anna has joint citizenship with both the United States and Italy, she is able to take Oliver and flee overseas.  She leaves everything else behind; job, house, family, friends.  Her remote relatives, most of whom she hasn't seen since she was a small girl, help her to get reestablished in Florence.  But can Evan ever concede failure in what he regards as a battle to establish his rightful dominance?

Evan enlists the big guns.  He goes to the police, for Anna has indeed committed a crime, kidnapping.  He goes to the press to make sure his side of the story is the one that gets told.  Finally, after months with no results, he hires a private investigator to locate Anna and kidnap Oliver back.  Evan's single focus brings the rest of his world into jeopardy; his job and marriage soon show the cracks of his obsession. 

Steven Gilbert has written a masterful debut novel.  The reader can empathize with each character in turn and the motives that drive their actions.  The writing is crisp and spare, yet portrays each side of this situation; mother, father, law enforcement, family and friends, fully.  Gilbert lives in the Piedmont region of NC.  In 2007 he was the recipient of a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant for Literature.  A Lovely, Indecent Departure is recommended for all readers interested in a compelling story and excellent character portrayal. 


Bill Cokas said...

I had the pleasure of being in a writer's group with Mr. Gilbert and watching this novel take shape. Great to see it finally out there!

Stepping Out of the Page said...

Wow - this sounds like a captivating and very effective book. Strong characters are very important to me and it looks as though, for the most part, this book succeeded in having that. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

New to your blog!
Steph @ Stepping Out of the Page

Sandie said...

Welcome, Steph!