Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review - Headlong


By: Ron MacLean
Publisher: Last Light Studio
Publication Date: October 2013
ISBN: 978-1-938692-98-7
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: November 27, 2013

Ron MacLean serves up a delicious and interesting plot in his latest novel, Headlong.

Much to his chagrin, Nick Young returns to his Boston roots to address the realities of caring for his dying father. What he doesn’t know, however, is that soon after his return; the dormant reporter within him is about to resurface. It seems there is an unsolved mystery that involves a labor strike, an Occupy-style movement and a murder that possibly involves his best friend’s son.

Nick Young is a has-been journalist. Reality hit hard that his Los Angeles life had come to a close. He is forced to trade his LA palm trees and an ex-wife (an aging actress reduced to bit parts in B-rated scream films) and return to the relentless humidity of a Boston summer. Granted, his motivation in returning entails taking care of his stroke-stricken father Thomas, but it’s not like there was endless love between the two. To temper his Boston return, Nick joins forces with his best friend's son, high school senior Bo who happens to have a posse of believers who are equipped to change the world...or so they think. Most of Nick’s nights are spent hitting the club scenes with his new buddies to partake in Boston’s eclectic music scene. It doesn’t matter if the majority of Nick’s new friends are twenty plus years his junior, it’s the music that keeps him from falling into the abyss of hopelessness.

When Nick is exposed to his friends’ civil demonstrations and their recent cause in support of the Janitor’s Union, it doesn’t take long for matters to progress from civil disobedience to violence. It is when Nick is approached by colleagues from his past to cover the story that he is forced to resurrect his dormant journalist from within. Nick struggles to balance the mounting financial medical disaster of his father’s demise as he dons his reporter’s cap. This is not what he envisioned when he arrived at the second half of his life. It’s not easy being forty-something and realizing life is about to take a sudden and sharp left turn.

Ron MacLean has done an admirable job of laying out duel plots in this body of work. While the main focus of his story is devoted to the younger generations’ perception of blatant greed and corporate capitalism, he strikes a beautiful balance with the back story of an adult child forced to deal with an aging and dying father—both topics very real in today’s world. I give Mr. MacLean big props for not only demonstrating patience in laying out his story, but tying both concepts together as though they were tailor-made for each other in one book. MacLean’s writing style is comfortable in that there is a natural flow and cadence that keeps the reader engaged. The author made my reading of his story a pleasant experience as I read page upon page of believable dialogue. Well done Mr. MacLean. I thoroughly enjoyed Headlong and look forward to reading your next body of work.

Quill says: Headlong may be a work of fiction, but the premise provides a hefty dose of reality and an ample serving of food for thought.

For more information on Headlong, please visit the book's website at:

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