Stash Paperback – 27 Jul 2010
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""Stash "is a masterly exploration of the pleasures and pitfalls of modern-day capitalism. David Klein writes with satirical flair, but also with compassion for his characters."--"Howard County Times"
"Exhaustive details about corporate marketing practices and marijuana production make Klein's debut novel informative as well as compelling. Fans of both domestic drama and corporate intrigue will enjoy it."--"Library Journal"
"Klein has a nimble storytelling style, and readers who dig these type of melodramas will find some richly intertwined stories...A very adult remake of an after-school special that's driven by story, not lessons."--"Kirkus"
"Satisfying on many levels, not least in its moral ambiguity that lends complexity to a story well told. This is as much about a marriage as it is the unraveling of a suspenseful plot"--James Landis, author of" The Last Day"
"Warning: This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night, holding your breath as you turn the pages."--Sandi Shelton, author of "Kissing Games of the World"
About the Author
David Klein is a native of upstate New York whose short fiction has appeared in a variety of literary magazines. He owns and operates a marketing communications firm in Delmar, New York, where he lives with his wife and two children. Klein is at work on a second novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The author does an amazing job creating multiple characters that you feel like you really know them. It was so descriptive it was as if I was watching a movie..I was that absorbed into it and the author is that good at capturing your attention.
The story has you on the edge of your seat, so suspenseful, to the point where it was impossible for me to put this book down for the day. I kept returning to it in hopes of figuring it out or seeing the end. But, it was such a page turner that I was up until one in the morning, until I had finished the book.
The first time I read the plot/description of Stash, I couldn't wait to read it. I don't normally read a lot of fiction but this was sounded so intriguing and so real life, like you could imagine it happening.
If the description of this book sounds like something you'd enjoy, get the book, you will NOT be dissapointed!! Very original story, very well written, Five stars easily!
I'm looking forward to this up and coming author's second book!
Loving mother and housewife Gwen Raine bought some pot from ex-boyfriend Jude for recreational use. On the way home, driving down some precarious mountain roads, she was involved in a car accident. She was hit by an elderly driver (suffering from dementia), and both end up in the ER. Although Gwen was not at fault, the police found the bag in her car and the THC in her system, and now the DA is poised to strong-arm or throw the book at her due to escalating drug sales in the community.
Concurrently, husband Brian is having some problems at his high-paying job at Caladon Pharmaceuticals. They have been walking a fine line with marketing an anti-anxiety medication as an off-label weight loss drug. Some speculative and hazardous risks were taken by the company's executives, which threaten to topple over onto Brian. The Raines have separate stressors and two small children together. The marriage is now loaded with accumulating anxieties and legal problems. How--or if--they pull through keeps the reader on edge.
Told from multiple narrative perspectives in alternating chapters, the story focuses primarily on Gwen and Brian Raine; the enigmatic and laconic Jude; and Jude's daughter, Dana. Gwen and Brian's depiction as a suburban married couple devoted to their children do fall into a quasi-stock profile. The "form" of their characters is familiar. However, Klein keeps the story taut and the reader tense by compounding the problems resulting from a ripple effect that connects the characters to each other. He convincingly pushes the envelope with Gwen. She is faced with difficult ethical and moral choices, and her responses aren't canned or predictable.
Jude is morally ambiguous, and I applaud the author for an honest and organic rendering of this character, never falling into an easy trap of stereotype. Moreover, Klein doesn't demonize all recreational pot smokers into categorical addicts or amoral/immoral deviants. He aptly illustrates the various lifestyle choices that people make and the consequences of their behaviors.
The author did his research and applied his details fluently. I worked for a company that performed drug trials, and I recognize the spot-on ethical dilemmas and vicissitudes that were portrayed and plagued Brian.
The denouement was tidy on one front, luridly messy on another. Klein doesn't tarnish it by creating a sea change in his characters or laying on a heavy-handed, disingenuous morality. The final and anticlimactic scene was authentic and arch, and I admire the author for his audacious and honest story. It is sure to create animated discussions, which makes it an excellent selection for broad-minded book club readers.
One of the other main characters, Jude, also seems to generate ambivalence in the author. Note that I say "in the author," not the reader. David Klein doesn't seem to know how he himself feels about his own creation. One minute Jude is portrayed as a more-or-less good guy who takes his role as a single father responsibly and just happens to sell recreational drugs on the side. The next Jude is a criminal verging on the edge of evil.
Ditto for Gwen and her husband Brian. I couldn't make up my mind if Gwen is a myopic, rich suburban housewife or an enlightened mom who just needs to unwind once in awhile. I wondered if Brian was really the uptight, big pharma hypocrite he seemed, or if he was just a nice guy trying to deal with being the beast of burden for his spoiled wife and kids. If Klein set out to challenge the reader by making his characters subtle and full dimensional, I believe he failed. Instead they come off as schizophrenic.
Now here's the big HOWEVER...there are elements of this novel that are quite engaging and, true to the blurb on the book jacket, the book is a page turner. Klein is good at developing a plot and building momentum as events move along. And in Aaron Capuano Klein has created a character that truly is full dimensional. One feels empathy for Aaron while disliking him at the same time.
The net on this one: Klein has talent and with luck in his second novel he will be less ambivalent about the characters while keeping his instinct for strong plotting.
Gwen Raine, the perfect suburban housewife and mother, has a secret. She has an affection for a little toke or two, if you know what I mean (and if you don't, maybe you should check out the title again), just to take the edge off her day. Nothing major, really--until one day she's involved in an auto accident. With the other driver dead and a bag of weed in Gwen's car, this fateful incident will have long range repercussions on everyone involved. The rippling aftermath not only affects Gwen--but her husband Brian caught up in his own crisis at work, her ex-flame Jude who sold her the product, Jude's daughter just setting off for college, a disturbed vet working at Jude's grow house and the detective investigating it all. With shifting viewpoints, Klein does an excellent job juggling the characters and pushing the momentum of the story forward at breakneck speed.
"Stash" is an unexpected page-turner. The story twists and surprises with its suburban menace. And while not perfect, it is one heck of a fun read! Klein pushes near the end to have the stories converge concurrently in a crescendo of convenient happenstance (sorry, was that too much alliteration?). It's all a little coincidental, especially the timing of the final act. But by then, I doubt you'll care--you'll just want to see what happens! And with much drama and suspense, the conclusion will satisfy. I really enjoyed "Stash" from start to finish. But the last paragraphs really elevate Klein's tale with their surprising and effective open-endedness. Loved it!
The main character, Gwen is a married mom in her thirties who lives in suburbia and has a seemingly idyllic life. When she meets up with an ex-lover to pick up a bag of marijuana to relax before a weekend away with her family, events are set into motion which ultimately change the lives of all of the characters in Stash. The characters are very well developed and the sub plots are just as fascinating as the main storyline. In one sub plot Gwen's husband is a pharmaceutical company executive and is embroiled in a possible scandal involving a weight loss drug that he is in charge of marketing. The novel intertwines components of a drama and a thriller into one very satisfying story by incorporating interesting elements of the drug trade and the pharmaceutical industry.
What really made this novel stand out to me is that it is set in the "real world" involving a stay at home mom with an outwardly "perfect" life and marriage as well as the perspectives of her husband, her ex-boyfriend (drug dealer) and his daughter and even the investigating police officer. I really enjoyed that the author gives the perspective of each character and is an examination of the human condition. In fact the rawness of the character's flaws is what keeps this book so intriguing and makes it so believable.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Stash and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a fast paced drama and thriller that will keep you wanting more.....
I am eagerly awaiting David Klein's second novel and will put it at the top of my reading list.
To learn more about author David Klein or Stash go to [...]