SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS is a great place to step out into a new way of life, with a fascinating literary hero.
As is obvious from my discussion topic (in the Amazon Shorts forum on the USA Amazon site) toasting John Cassell's HELL'S QUEST: 1971, I've been reading this author's collection of novels for several months, following a surge in literary exploration which has caused that forum to evolve into a commentary on each of those novels, as well as into a seminar on novelists talking about their work and writing techniques, including how ghosts, poltergeists, and possession of an author by a quickened character are related concepts.
For the past several years I've been reading mostly mystery novel series as I enjoy the literary depth and continuity there. I escape into novels so thoroughly that I go through a minor grieving process when I finish a good one. Being able to follow a character through several books is a boon to that type of psyche, and to an author like me who also writes books in series.
Prior to becoming addicted to the unique voice of Cassell, I had made a study of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series, reviewing each novel in that series, then moving into his two other mystery series. Through Spenser I enjoyed comparing the 70's to present day, and following various details of the evolution of cultural change beginning in the 70's then pushing heatedly through the 80's, 90's, and 00's.
That craving led naturally, almost uncannily into Cassel's novels, which focus on the 1967-1973 seeding pivotal point of the huge number of philosophical, psychological, sociological changes which we're still sorting through today.
My problem with some of The Literary Classics has always been that reading them depressed me. I was usually left at the end of a read feeling that the best next course of action would be to leap off a cliff. I was always disgusted that such amazing literary skill, such exquisite syntax, such blood-rich character development, such balsamic plot complexity was used to elevate either the artistry of ennui or of horrifying tragedy... concluding with, "Is that all there is?" or "Life is NOT a bowl full of cherries; it is The Pits of Terror and Torture." The GREAT GATSBY was one such. The wordsmithing and storytelling ability in that novel are almost insurpassable. Yet, I feel nothing but an empty, horrible depression when I get into that book or movie. Even so, Gatsby is one of my favorite examples of a truly good novel.
Too many of the Classics, for me, are the perfect promotions for Prozac. Given a choice, I'd rather read Cassell, Parker, and Jack Engelhard (THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE, see my review) and keep my natural chemistry intact.
What I like about those guys is that they provide engrossing entertainment, then leave me as a reader with a feeling of being well grounded into reality, including the dark sides, yet ready to work even harder to get what I want out of life and to spark others to do the same with their lives, through my writing.
When I read I seek a spirit lift. I get enough daily drains on my life force from reality. I can't see welcoming them into my mind when I'm wanting the regenerating factor of an escape into an enthralling world created in my mind by another healthy mind.
It'll be a while yet, before I've come to the conclusion of indulging this wallow into the works of a great author stepping out.
I'm honored to say that my blurb has been included in this novel's publication, in good company with other authors raving SOLDIER OF AQUARIUS.
Shelnutt is the author of several Amazon Kindle books and Amazon Shorts, including Myrtle's Ultimate Mystery, Full Moon Rising (The Books of Gem), and Molasses Moon. Her trade paperback, The Rose and the Pyramid has become a collector's item, and is now available on Kindle The Rose and the Pyramid (The Books of Gem).