I want to begin by saying this is an unsolicited and unbiased review.
From the very start I thought this book was going to be a private detective story; something a little old school set in modern times. I was completely wrong, but that doesn’t mean I was disappointed.
From the Desk of Buster Heywood follows the titular character and he is not a PI but an accountant with sever social anxiety. Buster has recently moved to the fictional town of Aviario, set in Connecticut, and works for the town government. Although he has only lived there for a approximately a year, he already feels responsible for the town and thus gets himself embroiled into dangerous situations for reasons he doesn’t fully understand.
First for the Positives
- Excellent characterization and relationship building
- Suspenseful and mysterious plot
- Strong single character third person narrative
- Excellent pacing
This story is wonderful because it feels realistic and plausible. D’Onofrio has done a beautiful job of crafting not only the town of Aviario but all of the characters who live there. Every new location feels like a place you could visit. Her attention to detail is in perfect balance with her narrative; giving just enough to allow your own imagination to fill in the blanks and not slow the flow of the story.
The best part about this book are the characters. Buster’s social anxiety is believable and realistic. The attempts he makes to find acceptance despite his disability only heighten the reality of living with anxiety. His slow growth toward conquering his fears is beautiful to watcher.
The villains are equally shady and sinister in their subtlety. There are no mustache twirling going on, only an underlying sense of dread occasionally punctured by red flags. I often found myself gritting my teeth as I watched Buster blindly his path due to his misguided loyalties. Although the antagonists are clearly shady, they are also people. Many times I wondered if I was the one misjudging them, which really says something for strong characterization.
Each character that Buster encounters on his journey is unique and well crafted. From his new friends and sister to the waiters he meets only briefly, the cast is well defined. They are characters that you care about, even when they are only in the story for a single scene.
The story itself follows a wide arc, at times leaving you wondering how deep he will delve into the darkness. Page after page you start to doubt that Buster will ever find his way back to light. From start to finish the narrative takes hold and pulls you along, only wanting you to keep going to find out what happens next.
Now for My Notes
Really, I don’t have any notes. The only thing I can mention is a few cases where it seemed the paragraph formatting didn’t take properly. There would be a strange break between sentences rather than the start of a new paragraph. It happened a few times but was not enough to take away from the overall pacing or understanding of the story.
My Overall Rating for this Book is 5 Stars! I’m also looking forward to the next book set in Aviario.
If you’d like to read this book you can find it on Amazon.
You can also check out Angela D’Onofrio’s site for more information about her upcoming work.