In Lawrence H. Sola’s novel, book three of the author’s Peter Pan Man series, a writer grapples with keeping his business and relationship afloat, and completing his novel against the backdrop of an impending pandemic.
Following an interview with Carla Kimbrel, a journalist from a prominent book magazine, about his upcoming novel, The Gym, Larry is inspired to begin the outline for his third novel. The story turns when his fiancée Allison’s ex-boyfriend, a doctor, suggests that an engineered virus leaked from a bioweapons lab will lead to a global pandemic.
Carla re-enters, urging Larry to change the storyline of his third book to incorporate the imminent pandemic and his relationship with Allison, as well as the conspiracy characters in his previous novels, who were inspired by real individuals. Carla believes the story will expose the conspirators behind the pandemic, which she feels is paramount.
Larry soon discovers that Carla’s ex, Stuart Grossman, is engaged in a scheme to keep Larry from publishing his manuscript. Stuart is concerned the book will reveal Stuart’s ties to the suspicious death of a character from Larry’s previous novel. As the story evolves, Larry’s investigation into the pandemic conspiracy yields shocking revelations. It becomes clear that the pandemic is a manufactured crisis driven by a sinister agenda.
The novel is brimming with action as a spectrum of tensions propels the plot forward. Larry’s struggles navigating a pandemic-ridden world and his fiancée’s battle with depression are compelling, and the story’s realistic portrayal of a pandemic akin to COVID-19 creates a sense of familiarity.
However, the narrative includes so many characters that it hinders cohesiveness and makes it challenging to maintain a clear understanding of the plot. And while the overarching narrative arc is engaging, readers may need to read the series’ previous books to grasp the story’s nuances fully.
Overall, Sola’s novel shows promise. However, the issues mentioned impact its overall effectiveness, creating an uneven reading experience.