I went into this book expecting something different than what I received. I believed I was beginning a crime/thriller/suspense novel. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized this book wasn’t about the plot. It was about the characters.
The location the book is titled after, “Joe Cafe”, is soon forgotten and left on the wayside. J.D. Mader delves into the recesses of his character’s psyches and rarely resurfaces. You have brief glimpses of action, but the main focal point seems to be the dichotomy of man. How screwed up we can become. How our pasts shape us. How life alters the way you see things. How bad people can be good and visa-versa.
The only reason this isn’t a five star review is because Mader tossed me out of the story on more than one occasion. The author does a lot of head hopping. There are times, in one single paragraph, where Mader will describe what two separate individuals are thinking. I had to keep stopping to wonder how one knew what was going on in the other’s head. This wouldn’t have been such a big problem, aside from the fact that I kept losing focus on which character was thinking what. Most readers will not have a problem with this, but it took me out of the story quite often.
The formatting and style of the book was well done. I did find six typos/missing words, but that isn’t any worse than commercially published fair.
J.D. Mader has a unique voice and a great deal of literary swagger. The book’s tone is solid and stable throughout. You realize, rather quickly, that this is not going to be a light read. You’re going to some pretty dark places, some where no light ever shines, but you will find yourself not wanting the story to end.
This book is just good, old fashioned, storytelling. Head hopping, or not, I recommend giving this book your attention.