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Need More Road Paperback – 30 Nov 2016

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4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews from the U.S.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Solstice Publishing (30 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1625264925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1625264923
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The prolific Stephen Jared returns with another little retro-lit gem ... 2 Mar. 2017
By Heinrich Drosse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The prolific Stephen Jared returns with another little retro-lit gem. "Need More Road" centers on a lonely, movie-obsessed bank clerk named Eddie Howard (think Mia Farrow in "Purple Rose of Cairo," seeking solace and escape from a humdrum life in dark movie houses, lost in the vicarious adventures of Hollywood-manufactured fantasy). The setting is Barstow, California, 1950s, and into Eddie's life walks (or more accurately, "slinks") Mary Rose, the prerequisite femme fatale, with all the bells and whistles. Eddie is of course instantly smitten and, needless to say, more than a little taken aback when Mary seems genuinely interested in him. Mary naturally has ulterior motives and before Eddie knows it he is successfully recruited into participating in a heist of his own bank. Without delving into any plot-spoiling details, the next 3rd of the book follows our hapless couple on the lam, as their relationship evolves and aspects of their personalities are delicately peeled away and revealed. Jared paints a touching and convincing portrait of loneliness and yearning in both of his main characters, and his insight into human character and internal conflict is spot on and heartbreaking. The plot, in my own humble opinion, loses much of its steam and drive in the last act, however. I could blame myself for expecting the cliche climax that such a tale typically delivers. Perhaps I should admire Jared for eschewing the cliche and instead delivering a more realistic, less explosive conclusion. But my tastes and expectations have been formed over decades of film noir and bone-crushing hardboiled pulp fiction. I am a creature of habit. Kudos, nevertheless, to Stephen Jared, for providing some of the most genuinely poetic prose of his career thus far. He continues to mature as a writer, and as always I eagerly anticipate his next literary offering.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BOOK RUNS OUT OF GAS AT THE END 13 Jan. 2017
By Ron Fortier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Stephen Jared is one of the more promising voices in New Pulp fiction working today and his past titles have shown a real flare for both heroic adventure and tightly plotted noir crime thrilles. Whereas with “Need More Road,” he sets out on a much more ambitions journey to create a poignant character study of a lonely man living in quiet desperation. Sadly, even his talent can’t save the book’s rambling second half.

The tale is set in the post World War II years. Eddie Howard is a fifty year old bank clerk living the sleep desert town of Barstow, California. He lives alone in his dead parents’ house where he was raised and the only real joy he has are his trips to the small movie house. Eddie loves the movies and sees each new release multiple times. They are his ticket out of the mundane routine of his boorish life.

Then one day a beautiful young woman walks into the bank and from that moment on Eddie’s world is sent spiraling out of control. A Marilyn Monroe clone, Mary Rose has come to Barstow to set up an account for her father, Mr.McCoy, who is still living back in Los Angeles. Eddie befriends her and they soon become close. He can’t believe his good fortune. When her supposed father eventually arrives in town, the reader is miles ahead of this familiar noir plotline. The man calling himself Mary Rose’s father is actually her criminal boyfriend and they are in town to rob the bank. By now Eddie has fallen totally under the blonde femme fatale’s charms.

All this is classic noir and Jared does a great job moving the story along carefully with no sense of urgency. It is this deliberate pacing that builds the tension and as poor Eddie falls deeper and deeper into the couple’s web of lies, it is impossible to put the book down. The heist is carried out and then the characters begin their escape with the stolen cash.

Even when Eddie manages to outwit McCoy and his safecracking buddy, and escape their clutches with Mary Rose in tow, the suspense rolls along at breakneck speed taking the fugitives on a twisting, rambling road. All the while their relationship seems to flounder and have no clear purpose; it’s as if despite everything that has happened, Eddie and Mary Rose are doomed to remain strangers.

The hallmark of noir fiction is a climatic finale that is most often tragic. Whereas Jared’s last third of “Need More Road” doesn’t go anywhere. It just stops. The book has no solid ending to justify its powerful first half. At the end we are left with an exercise in good writing. In this genre that is just not enough.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel of Suspense! 12 Feb. 2017
By Tom McNulty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Every time I read one of Stephen Jared’s books I come away from the experience impressed by his insight into human nature. He knows people, and he understands their foibles, idiosyncrasies, desires and dreams. His fiction is dramatic, adventuresome, and infused with real emotion. I can never guess how the plot will turn out, but I am compelled to turn the page. Need More Road is a heartfelt story about Eddie Howard, a bachelor with a lonely life. He takes pleasure in movies because there’s not much else to do in post-war Barstow, California. Working as a bank clerk, his life changes when a knockout blonde doll with movie star looks walks into the bank to set up an account. The tension builds inexorably, and the woman, Mary Rose, is part of a plan to rob the bank. I will say no more regarding the plot, except that Eddie and Mary share a long and winding road together. This is a short novel, and the pacing is even. The circumstances Eddie and Mary Rose find themselves in have an existential feel to them, which by its literary application involves the characters experiencing confusion in our absurd world. This is not blatant, but rather a feeling I had reading the book. Hollywood is part of the background, but greed and desire drive the plot which lends a film noir feel to the narrative. I don’t know if Jared intended that, but the tone is the direct result of Eddie and Mary Rose’s actions. Eddie sometimes struck me as a Walter Mitty type, and in one brief scene he imagines making love to Mary Rose in Paris when he’s actually at a dismal gas station. His relationship with Mary Rose after the robbery is surreal. Stephen Jared is a splendid writer, and the prose flows seamlessly. I enjoyed Need More Road, as I have enjoyed all of his stories. Jared has a natural born talent, which is complemented by his career as a professional actor in Hollywood. Kudos!
4.0 out of 5 stars THAT'S LIFE 3 Feb. 2017
By Dale Lund - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Having read and enjoyed all of Stephen Jared's books, I was ready for another of high adventure or intriguing plot, and "Need More Road" threw me for a loop. It begins that way, with a bank heist, but soon the plot gives way to an ongoing, day-to-day situation, and the excitement of a dramatic ending never comes. But the author wanted it this way, to avoid the classic Hollywood ending and instead make it bittersweet, like real life. Rather than answering all the reader's questions in a myriad of side stories, the entire book is in the point of view of its lonely protagonist, Eddie Howard, who, without realizing it, is actually living the life of the movies he loves. From the outset I, in years past, had much in common with Eddie, and so was taken into the book's first pages. And the book ends as life does, when we still have questions, when we're still searching, when we're still troubled.

In the whole book I marked one place because it explains something about myself I never before realized. Eddie heard that soon there wouldn't be any more black and white movies playing in the theaters, that they would instead be in color, and he "believed that would be a terrible loss. While many color pictures were beautiful, the black and white pictures offered further distance from reality and Eddie liked that very much." I prefer black and white movies and TV shows in my DVD collection and never until now realized that it's because they provide more of an escape for me. And in "Need More Road," Eddie's whole life seems to be in the process of turning from black and white into color.
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen does it again. 1 Feb. 2017
By Bernie Van De Yacht - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Stephen Jared does it again. I've read all his books, but this one, I feel, is the best. Reading his books is like living in another era. His attention to detail and places he could have never been (Havana, back then, for instance) is remarkable. So well researched. He has so many lines that I underlined because I want to remember them to quote at parties. His characters are so human, too. Fully textured and multi-dimensional. I couldn't put it down. It usually takes me awhile to read a book. Not this one. Go out and buy it now. Especially, if you love this era.
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