Brian M Gelinas is a local reporter for a daily newspaper. In 1997 his first publication was a creative commentary piece published in Worcester Magazine. He also won the Louis P Shepherd Award in Creative Writing while a student at Fitchburg State College.
This is sure to have spurred Brian on in his writing career as he has now published American Odyssey, his debut novel.
Currently Brian lives in the small Massachusetts town of Athol, where he was born and raised.
American Odyssey is a touching and heart-breaking tale of three teenage boys, Hunter Leroux, Billy Prescott and Wade Canter, who have packed their bags and hopped on a train in a desperate attempt to escape their hometown of Barren Falls. For Hunter it holds angry memories of a lost time between himself and his father. As a young boy he used to long to spend time with his Dad but his father was always too preoccupied in his job and never spared much time for his family. Even at the weekends, Dad would distance himself preferring to fix household maintenance and repairing his car. There was always something better to do with his time.
Gradually Hunter began to hate his father, not only for the way he behaved but also because he felt Dad was constantly degrading himself by remaining at Tool & Die. That was the shoddy workplace where many of the residents ended up working who were less fortunate and did not come from wealthy families.
Wade has run away from his home town because of his abused past and also from his lengthy arrest record. Carrying a gun, Wade thinks only of one thing: stealing cars and money and whatever else the three-some can get their hands on. It doesn’t really matter to him who gets hurt in the midst of the crimes, all that matters is thieving what he can and making sure they survive.
For Billy, Hunter’s closest friend, this is more of an adventure and the rare opportunity to spot the wild buffalo that roam the distant lands of the Black Hills of South Dakota. His innocent and blameless nature shines throughout these pages. He hates the idea of having to hurt people in order to stay alive in the friend’s quest and always tries to keep the others in line.
Will they make it to the Black Hills and escape the police who are out searching for the friends? Or will it all end in disaster?
I absolutely loved this tale. I was uncertain at the beginning but as I progressed through this book, the story captured me and I was left addicted. The ending was very unpredictable and it was one that made me do something that not often happens - I cried. These characters are so realistic and each carries their own emotional burdens. Billy was an absolutely lovable character that I instantly felt for. His nature was sweet and kind, especially compared to Wade who struck me as a bit of a gangster.
The way that Brian has written this is also something that made this book stand out for me. He has the right kind of style to engross the reader and build up the plot, the characters and the atmosphere.
I shall definitely buy Brian’s next novel when he writes it and it becomes available. An absolute marvellous first novel to appeal to any age.
The above review was contributed by: Jessica Roberts: Jessica has been a book reviewer for a newspaper and a national women's magazine and is working on a novel.