THE ILLUSION: PATRICK GARRY
Can someone create a life or a world that he/she feels will help them get ahead in life at the expense of others? Can someone create an illusion of being a caring and loving man to the woman he’s going to marry but in reality he’s really not loving at all but using her to become part of her elite and rich world? Things might look read but in reality they are fake so that the person justifies his/her own fantasy. An illusion simply defined is an act of deception and as you enter the pages of this novel titled: The Illusion you the reader will have to read and listen carefully to the words written and spoken to decide what is real and what is an illusion. Within this novel the main character creates a false perception or reality and you wonder just how far he/she will go to fool others. Meet Luke Sellmer an investment banker hoping to rise to the top in his firm. Considering he spent his youth in juvenile in Saginaw Reformatory for Young Men, yet Luke is smart but hiding his past might be the biggest illusion of all. The story begins with Luke awaiting trial and the outcome which we do not know since the crime has not been fully revealed. Next, we meet Lauren his fiancé, from a wealthy family that has rules for etiquette and behavior in public and who treats every dinner and event as if it were a Presidential state dinner. The interaction between these characters, Luke and Lauren seems stilted, unsure of their relationship and at times they seem to be convincing themselves that the Church wedding they are about to have is what they both want but do they? Lauren appears to be perfect yet she has some serious esteem issues of her own and she constantly goes to the doctor and is disappointed when he finds nothing wrong. With her fashion sense and her connections is he marrying her for her money? Although Luke has now gotten a huge job within his firm working with a Senator, with his boss seeing his potential he receives this major account. But, in order to do this he has to keep one particular strong liking for something that has a tendency to be bad a secret from Lauren. Lauren is not the person she appears to be either and she is dealing with demons of her own. Her wedding she hopes and marriage to Luke will allow her to move out of her parent’s home and have the freedoms she wants as Luke she feels is her answer to escaping the social world of her parents. Lauren is insecure, feels not worthy at times and we begin to wonder why Luke is about to say his I DO’s when we learn about Justene. All Lauren wants is the perfect marriage, perfect house and financial strain on Luke does not come into play. But, secrets and lies have a way of coming out and as we learn from the start of this novel someone is up for murder and social scandal. Just who and why?
The story is told in Luke’s voice as he flashes back to the past when growing up poor, getting into trouble and hoping to escape his roots. As we learn more about Lauren and her past getting expelled from school and her parents coming to her aid, the author reveals more about Luke, his past getting into trouble, his brother in jail and when Justene’s husband comes to his office to talk about his wife having a possible affair things begin to heat up. Added in we learn more about Justene, Vince her husband that might not be as blind as everyone thinks and a favor Luke does for a client that might change it all but not in a good way. The U.S. Senator, Robert Brand is the one whose account he has and living a lie and covering up his past he has to hope no one reveals it. This is a story about deception, betrayals, lies, adultery, relationships, insecurities and low self-esteem and much more. It is about several people who have created what you might say an outward persona that they want people to believe about them but in reality it is fake.
Before Lauren and Luke can be married in the church they have to go to counseling with the local priest who seems bent on helping them see the light when in fact he’s aware that they are not so pure like the driven snow. These characters have no moral fiber and will do anything to stay ahead, make money and seem like solid citizens in a world that they have fabricated for themselves and for others to see.
When Lauren has her heart set on a specific house why does Luke agree to buy it on the spot? Is it because of his childhood and wanting to be in the same financial league as Lauren. The author flashes back to why he, his brother and stepfather were accused of murdering 11 migrant workers who his stepfather did not intend to kill but destroy the barn because he never got paid the money owed him for a job. When his real father dies in an accident at a chemical plant after losing his junkyard business due to 2 accidental deaths of two boys, Luke and his family moved to what he refers to as a dump and things fell apart as his life was church, the Salvation Army events and poverty. Coming to her parent’s home to collect the invitations for her bridal shower, Luke comes face to face with Father Malloy who realizes he was invited to this art event by mistake. But, Luke seems to understand and gravitate to the priest while Lauren is busy inside with the rest of the artists and rich guests. It is a this point you realize that he just might not really fit in even though Talia, her mother insisted he bail her out with the Father. Things get even stranger as author Patrick Garry takes us into the minds of not just Luke and Lauren but Vince and Justene too. Why won’t she leave him? What is the hold that Vince has on her? What will happen when he learns the truth behind her lies and deceptions? What will Lauren do to her newly found perfect world as Luke reminds us ever so often that he is awaiting his trip to a prison cell.
The final scenes are dramatic as not only is he accused of murdering someone that he deceived and pretended to befriend, but he gets caught in a web of fraud, money laundering and hiding the truth about a client when asked to do a favor for the higher ups. Added in his plight is even worse with Lauren as he finally realizes that Lauren is needy, self-absorbed and basically whines when you don’t focus on her needs. Each one Luke, Lauren, her father, her mother who is concerned with appearances and who’s who that can make her position in society shine and reach a higher level, as Luke decides to enter into a world that will not only hurt himself but others too. Falling for Justene and getting into a relationship with her he cannot deal with rejection or closure. Stalking her and Vince on their vacation brings to light in Vince’s eyes a harsh reality about Luke.
The impact of the ending will strike readers as quite remarkable as Father Malloy and Luke have one final discussion that will allow you the reader to decide as the author relates the facts and events: Did Luke create a perfect life that was a total illusion for himself? Who is Luke really? What would you draw from the ending as the final verdict? Denying your past does not negate what might happen in the present. Are you living your life in a realm of reality or are you part of an ILLUSION TOO? The author gives us all much pause for reflection and thought. Patrick Garry tops the charts with this psychological/mystery thriller.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine