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August 5, 2023

Fadeaway Joe by Hugh Lessig ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Joe has been let go from his dream job at a club where he has worked his way up from bouncer to manager. But the books are coming up short even though he's not sure how. Feeling belittled he soon becomes angry and plots his revenge. Unfortunately, things get complicated quickly given that Joe's tough exterior is just hiding a tender heart.

Amazon affiliate links are used on the site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of mystery novel Fadeaway Joe by Hugh Lessig
August 2023; Crooked Lane Books; 978-1639104369
audio (7h 15m), ebook, print (288 pages); mystery

Fadeaway Joe
 begins with a very unreliable narrator. Joe has woken up in his backyard in just his underwear and can't remember how he got there - he was warned that his early-onsight Alzheimer’s would be worst at night. When he finds his boat full of blood he wonders if he became violent during his late-night walkabout.

I didn't immediately connect with Joe. He is a rough old geezer. He was a bouncer at a club that hosts illegal poker games. I did feel for him as he deals with his recent diagnosis, but I wasn't sure if was going to be my kind of story. The opening scene with the bloody boat though did hook me enough to keep going with the novel.

And I'm glad I did as a second main character was introduced. I really liked Paula from the start. She's young, and kind of has an angry-at-the-world attitude but at the same time, I think she is struggling with what to do with her life. 

The story is told in the third person, but the book switches back and forth between Joe and Paula being "center stage" so to speak. While Joe's chapter did become more interesting, I looked forward to Paula's chapters. 

The plot is well-written. I liked how things are revealed slowly with hints dropped here and there. But it was the development of the characters that kept me reading. It was like layers of an onion being peeled back with both Joe and Paula as we got to know them. 

On the surface, Paula and Joe are an unlikely pair, but they work really well together. By the end of the novel, they both were characters I cared about.

I listened to the audiobook and there are two narrators. Lewis Arlt narrates Joe's chapters and Karissa Vacker narrates Paula's chapters. They both did a wonderful job but I'm not sure if two narrators were necessary. The characters would sound different depending on which narrator was reading. While the difference was minor it did irk me at times as I had to adjust and it momentarily drew me out of the story. 

Overall, this would be a wonderful book to end summer with. There is mystery and danger, but it isn't a fast-paced story. It has more of a slice-of-life feel to it. Fadeaway Joe would be the perfect accompaniment to a lazy afternoon in a hammock or rocking chair with a glass of sweet tea or lemonade.

Buy Fadeaway Joe at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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