Monday, August 21, 2006

Matthew St. Amand's Randham Acts

This weekend, I read Matt St. Amand's debut novel, Randham Acts, and I loved it!

Aspiring writer and college student Hugh Longford had just asked his girlfriend, Stephanie, to move in with him. But instead of it being a landmark romantic moment in their relationship, it deteriorates into an ugly fight, because Stephanie refuses to leave her younger brother home with her mother, Bev. Bev has recently gone off her meds, and she's been slipping into fugue states while an even more frightening manic -- and potentially violent -- side of her seems to be emerging. Meanwhile, Stephanie's father, Martin, is on one of his extended sabbaticals from the family while he spends his free time at the racetrack and then crashing on his friend's couch.

Already stressed out from overwork at his job, with his classwork piling up, and sullen from his fight with Stephanie, when Hugh gets yet another rejection notice from the magazine he most covets publication in, Hugh decides to give a new product a try. He purchases and consults The Blockbuster plot generation software module to help him punch up his stagnating story. But it's not long before Hugh begins consulting the software regarding real life issues, starting with an annoying co-worker. Meanwhile, Bev is sticking the screws to Martin and trying to get a new business venture of her own off the ground.

Things in Randham quickly heat up in this debut novel from Matt, who is the author of the short story collection "As My Sparks Fly Upward." Full of twist, turns, and plenty of action, this is a pageturner with extra character kick. Matt reveals his characters from the ground up, letting us get to know them and feel their skin. Vivid and real, Matt's style is incredibly smooth and readable, but not the least bit awkward or dumbed-down like a lot of pulp can be. It's a layered and complex novel within the suspense framework, but you'll keep speeding to see what happens next in this stunning debut.

For more info, please visit Matt's website, or to order, go here.

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