Author: Geoffrey Neil
Publisher: Priorities Intact Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-615-29249-6

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Here is an unusual twist on a murder mystery. We know the killers, we know how they murder, and we wonder how these murderers will be brought to justice or will they? Moreover, it is not your typical novel about the plight of the homeless. It is kind of offbeat, nonetheless, after reading Geoffrey Neil's Dire Means, you may think twice about your behavior towards the indigent in our society.

The setting is Santa Monica California, where a series of disappearances involving people of widely varying professions and residential locations has engulfed the city causing widespread havoc and terror. As we are to discover, the common denominator pertaining to these abducted individuals is that their treatment and behavior towards the homeless have not exactly been exemplary. They portray ignorance to human suffering and display cruel contempt towards these poor souls.

At the same time, as these crimes are materializing, our protagonist, twenty-eight-year-old Mark Denny, who runs a computer service business, has courageously saved the life of a homeless person, who threatened to jump off a building. Denny had to resort to some very creative persuasive tactics including agreeing to the man's request that he strip down to his underwear. It should be mentioned that Denny's heroics occurred after he had been assaulted and robbed five days earlier by someone who ran out of gas and whom he had tried to help by driving him to a nearby service station.

Denny's life takes on an unexpected shift when the person he saves turns out to be a fanatic who entangles him in something beyond his wildest imagination. He eventually finds himself entrapped within the confines of a technically sophisticated organization that resorts to vigilante executions involving victims who exhibit atrocious and deplorable behavior towards the homeless.Their leader, a man called "Pop" has devised a demoniacal plan to end homelessness and the suffering of the impoverished. His twisted logic and rationalizations concerning his behavior is a bit much for Denny to swallow. Unfortunately, Denny finds himself in an extremely difficult predicament, where the possibility of his escape from the clutches of these diabolical serial killers diminishes day-by-day as their modus operandi is exposed to him. Moreover, law enforcement officers have been fingering him as a possible suspect concerning the wave of abductions of the individuals who eventually are turning up dead.

To some, Dire Means may be a trifle far-fetched and absurd, yet it would be difficult to read this gripping work of fiction without feeling that it deals with something real, touching on a number of issues concerning the downtrodden and society's indifference. It is not only the gripping story that is important here, but also how Neil's moving novel is imbued with disturbingly potent and candid truths. He deftly weaves into his thrilling yarn moving portraits of these abandoned individuals with a good deal of emotional power, honesty and sensitivity, leaving his readers with something to ponder. Neil has made a wonderful debut as a novelist and I look forward to hearing more from him.

Geoffrey Neil graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a bachelor's degree in Communications. He has worked at many jobs including groundskeeper, produce field worker, computer service engineer, newspaper columnist, IT consultant, and salesperson. He interacts with, and gives to the homeless people whenever possible. He and and his wife are familiar with several homeless shelters in the Los Angeles area and a portion of each sale of Dire Means will go to support these organizations.

Click Here To Read Norm's Interview With Geoffrey Neil

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