The Beginning Game: R.M. Doyon
Someone is trying to gaslight or drive Hubie Schumacher crazy. What happens when an older man is plagued with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s and recounts seeing imaginary people, claims a man dressed in black comes to visit him and even hopes to convince the sheriff and his daughter that someone sabotaged his brakes and torched his garage. Someone is seriously out to take this man down but why? Enter Nicholas Wells formerly known as Nicky or Nick just getting out of prison and putting on the demeanor and manner of a changed man. But, as you get to know him and hear his thoughts, and join him during his dealings you will learn that his is just is way of starting The Beginning Game but who will the winner be?
After his release from prison and making sure while there he remained in good shape, he begins on the road to redemption but not in the way you might think. Claiming he wanted and has changed and might even enroll in college, a naïve and vulnerable girl named Belle would soon be his new instrument of abuse. While planning his next step in trying to take out Hubie and hoping to get even with those he feels put him in prison, the author has us all return to where it all began with the Schumacher family. From the author of Upcountry and Thou Torturest Me comes the third and final installment in the trilogy where Hubie is about to celebrate his 75th birthday and someone wants to make sure he doesn’t. Enter Joanne, his daughter who also suffered as we learned in the first novel and was abused by her husband Denny and is now trying to rebuild her life. The story unfolds with Hubie seeing and hearing people that are not there and trying to convince his friend and his daughter that he can remain at home but things start to spiral out of control as someone torches his garage, cuts his brakes on his truck and another claims to just want to help him.
Sheriff Brian Boychuck is at the center of this novel hoping to find out who is after Hubie but he has other difficulties to deal with a s someone is breaking into many of the unattended homes and stealing just what he wants and leaving no trace or fingerprints leaving him with no clues to the burglar’s identity. The second book in the trilogy focused on the relationships between the Amish and English dealing with an English girls who Josh Troyer never stopped loving. Reenter Ria who suffered great injuries in this second novel and who is taken quite aback when Nick reenters her life but will she give in to what he wants as Belle has? With her friend Natasha guiding her will she fall prey to Nick’s wiles and wishes?
Nick’s whole appearance has changed after leaving prison and he no longer looks anything like he did before including his new ponytail and hot physique. Nick thinks he can rise above the law and enjoys tormenting the sheriff and many others blaming them for putting him away.
Hubie is taking medications for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s that can often create hallucinations and other side effects that no one believes as he relates what he thinks actually is happening to him but why?
Things spiral out of control when two soldiers come to the town bar and find themselves in the hospital seriously injured and with the bartender’s description of the man who attacked them several different stories emerge. As Hubie tries to reconcile what is happening to him someone decides to continue harassing him and this time his best friend Griz, his dog is the fatal victim. Belle the man’s girlfriend realizes that Tucker her dog is the guilty party as Nick has other plans for her and she refuses to succumb worried about her dog and why he traded in her truck.
Then something happens where Ria Cahill finds herself with Josh Troyer’s son Adam as her student in preschool and although they are attracted to each other after her one time with Nick and her guilt coming through she cannot deal with Josh remembering their past. As Josh and Ria were close Hannah planned to take him on and the end result was Adam even though she wound up in prison she has yet to contact Josh about their son. The English and the Amish have clashed in the second novel and the families protecting their own have different and diverse ways. Josh no longer living his Amish life and working in construction hopes that Ria will want to revisit their relationship but she cannot forget being in a coma, left for dead and the rehab and side effects that are still lingering.
As Ria searches her heart and the events of the day linger on as Brian has to deal with the death of the dog, the home invasions and now he has sketch of the man who attacked the soldiers, will he recognize who it is as the burglar taunts him with emails and notes allowing readers to know that this man is no stranger to Brian. But, Brian is not the only that this man is after as Ria goes missing and a startling revelation is made as the true identity of someone is revealed.
With Joanne and Booker finally hoping to take their vows, Hubie and his friends close by someone decides to not only take out Ria but someone who trusted him too. What happens will shock readers as this person had the pieces or pawns on a chess board all lined up hoping to take the pawns of the other players but what happens when all the pieces are in place and who wins and who says the final checkmate? Whose King will fall and how far?
Amish customs are different than ours and when someone disgraces themselves they are often banished or leave on their own. Hubie Schumacher is Brian’s close friend and although he had dementia/Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s did does not take away from his courage, spunk and the fact that even though most thought he lost his “Marbles,” they might realize that some were sharper than someone shooting and playing marbles hoping to take all from their opponent. An ending that is heartfelt, brings closure to many and to others sadness as the final pages are read, the story comes to a close but there are many whose lives changed and some who are know going to have their own beginnings and create their own stories. As Ria battles her own demons and comes face to face with someone from the past will she find it in her heart to forgive? What happens that changes the role of a young girl who realizes that she needs to find her way but not with this Amish community? Forgiveness, redemption, understanding, hope, fear, love, loyalties, friendships and revenge are just some of the issues that are brought to light in the final saga or chapter of those who are held near and dear to Hubie, his family and a cast of many well developed characters and vividly depicted scenes as author R.M. Doyon allows the reader to enter into the innermost thoughts of a deranged man who thought that he would never be stopped and always be apart and win THE BEGINNING GAME! Powerful, compelling, heartwarming and thought provoking!
Fran Lewis; Just reviews/MJ magazine