Review: People Person

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Book Reviews
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people person
People Person by Trent Zelazny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

** A Wink and A Shiv ***

Don’t turn your back on Trent Zelazny…ever. The boy just doesn’t play fair.

His latest offering (to my knowledge) is People Person—a nasty little slice of business that you will read in one sitting, right before taking a long walk to clear your head…and try to avoid watching the neighbors, whether or not you consider yourself a people person.

Jeffrey Carlisle is a people person, and a heck of a nice guy. The story opens with Jeff staring into an empty ditch, looking for clues as to the whereabouts of his long-missing sister Jessica. The ditch is as empty as Jeffrey, offering no solace or respite from a life steeped in almost mind-numbing drudgery.

There’s not a lot I can tell you about this story without spoiling it—it’s a novella and what transpires in these few pages happens at once slowly and quickly. In many ways nothing at all happens…until it does, until you are comfortably pacified.

But here’s the thing: Zelazny somehow manages to make the mundane compelling, which may be the ultimate testament to his brilliance. That’s a rare gift. Show us a man repeating the same scenario over and over, walking around his kitchen, peeking out at the neighbors…and make it riveting?

There is of course more to this story than a lost man’s boredom and aimlessness, much more. But it is our duty to live with Carlisle—to feel his loss, to wander lonely stretches of road, to wonder why bad things happen to good people. We must walk a mile in his shoes, and as the story unfolds try to deny how well those shoes fit our own feet.

Bravo, Mr. Zelazny. Again.

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