The Fragility of Contrition: Phil Locascio
There are so many people that find themselves in situations that are untenable and because of it wind up doing something they will regret. Will a robber ever feel remorse for taking something that does not belong to him? Will a murderer ever really apologize to the family of his/her victim? What happens when three men set out to rob a jewelry store and the storeowner fights back? What happens when the end result leaves one locked away in a cave, injured and fighting for his life and another hiding in a small town seeking a quiet refuge? What happens when a disbarred lawyer finds his way to this same backwater town, befriends the young boy managing a motel and together they form a strange friendship. One that shares his insight, knowledge and regrets with this young man whose life appears to be going nowhere, whose disability has held him back and who finds this man’s life and the fact he was just released from prison a draw.
Contrition: A feeling of remorse about having done something wrong. “Contrition is an extreme sorrow for having sinned with a deep repentance concerning that sin. In Roman Catholicism, contrition also adds the idea of a strong desire to not sin again because of one’s love for God1.(http://carm.org/dictionary-contrition).”
What happens when the men who robbed the jewelry store, a disbarred lawyer, a man hoping to escape captivity in a cave and a young man come together to find their way? The author takes us inside the minds of the two thieves: Danny and Lamar. Lamar we meet in the present, as he is one of the residents of this motel, while Danny is struggling to stay alive in the cave that has virtually become his prison. Thinking that he needed some type of insurance that Lamar would not take his cut of the jewels or that he might harm him, little did Danny realize that when hiding the satchel something would happen turning the tables against him and in Lamar’s favor at least for now. Just who is this lawyer that worked for the mob, had his own cache of jewels and winds up in the same place as these jewel thieves? What is the link? Where do they all intertwine?
Each character has his own secrets and reasons for justifying his actions but none are exempt from causing harm to others. Trevor, the young boy whose disability was caused by a Traumatic Brain Injury, becomes a pawn to the three men who robbed the jewelry store. Inadvertently he enters their world, has to make some sharp and snap choices and the end result just might cause him to wind up where the others should be. But, what about Danny? Will he remain in the cave and be the only friend of the bats? What about Lamar and Clyde? Clyde managed to escape from the hospital not realizing the sheriff was setting him up. But, this sheriff has his own secrets and betrayals to hide. No one is innocent within the pages of this novel and no one is safe.
Aggie owns the Sagebrush Motel housing all of these people. Worried about her future and concerned about herself, no one to really count on as the author shares more about her life, her feelings and desires with readers. Prayer was her solace and whisky her tranquilizer. Unusual combination to say the least. As Aggie, Drossmeyer and Sheriff Raggart have coffee the conversation seems stilted, cautious and the Sheriff keeping his views close to the vest concerning Trevor. When push comes to shove you will learn just how dangerous this sheriff really is and to what lengths he will go to get these three criminals. Added in we now meet Clyde who has formed an alliance with Trevor and Drossmeyer. Don’t bet on knowing how this ends because the author pulls some surprises on the reader that you won’t expect. When the three manage to find Danny, who winds up dead under a green tarp? Where are the jewels and what is Drossmeyer’s connection to these men? Who can be trusted? What happens when the code of silence that these men have taken to protect one another falls short when someone betrays them? Sometimes justice comes from those who feel it’s their duty to meat it out. Sometimes it comes when others fall short of whom they are and some feel that they have to rise to the occasion. Justice is served but how you won’t believe. Where they all wind up you have to find out for yourself as the author brings to light many important issues within this novel. When is it okay to break the rules? What happens when everyone is guilty but some escape punishment? What happens when the money gotten from ill-gotten gains is earmarked to help others? What happens when four thieves, one woman named Aggie and a young, naïve and enterprising young man named Trevor team up to decide just where their final allegiances lie and how far they will to escape that den of bats, leave the guilty behind and find room in their hearts to repent and show some remorse.
The Fragility of Contrition: Sometimes so delicate and more fragile than a spider’s web. You decide whether justice was done or not.
The characters are not perfect and their flaws shine through and storyline that is interesting. Fast paced, unique in its outcome and one young boy named Trevor who learns that life is not always straightforward and some endings are not always happy or predictable.
The Sagebrush Motel: Can you hear the voices on Room 13? Can you see who’s following you? Danny, Clyde, Lamar, Dash, Trevor and Aggie will each tell you in their own words the events that lead up to the final and dramatic outcome. If you robbed a jewelry store would you leave your friend and take the stash and run? If you saw that your friend was on his last leg and nothing could save him would you end his life? If you saw that everyone and everything around you would lead to hurting someone you cared for, would you commit many crimes to save this person? Decide for yourself who still needs to repent and where the acts of contrition need to still be heard. These questions will only be answered after you read this interesting and thought provoking novel. Can you define justice? Do you think it was served? An interesting and very creative ending and an author whose fast paced novel will keep you glued to the printed page until he reveals the dramatic and surprise ending. The author’s focus is to entertain the reader and he does so when posing these questions within the intricate plot.
There are many subplots within this story. The author cleverly solves the crimes in a way that you won’t expect. The pieces of the puzzle fits together but not until you read the ending and the final epilogue.
Author Phil Locascio keeps the reader on the edge of their seat until the final scene is played and the ending is revealed. An interesting and exciting read. This book gets four stars.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
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