Friday, March 13, 2015

REVIEW: Touched Up

Touched Up
Leo Dufresne

Genre: Literary Fiction, Thriller, Family Life
Publisher: Red Ash Books
Publication date: 11.7.2014
Pages: 280

Recommended by: Worldwind Virtual Book Tours, Read 2 Review
Date read: 3.11.2015

Before I forget, I have to say - I am just amazed by this cover.  When the request was sent to me, I could not stop looking at it and every time I see it, I smile just a little bit more. :)

This was a great story - one of family-life and work-life not completely meshing, blackmail, suspense - all set around a husband-father who loves his family, even though he doesn't fully understand them, while he works hard on a big project with his eyes on the big prize, head-honcho of the company he works for.  I really enjoyed how it flowed and kept my attention.  As the blackmail begins, I kept trying to see if I could figure out who was behind it, and was a little surprised at the ending.

Mitch Pederson was such a good character - he was different: awkward, didn't really understand people and their emotions, loved his hobby of photography, and very work-driven.  I loved watching him as he grew throughout the story.  I read some of the reviews on this book after I was done reading it - something I don't usually do - and was really surprised that there were people who didn't like Mitch in the beginning.  I kind of related to him and loved how completely honest he was about his emotions and his thoughts - the story is told in first person, but I've read a lot of different stories where they seem like their sugar-coating what they are really thinking, and he doesn't.

His daughter is really well-written (the angst and sarcasm - I remember being her when I was younger) and the people he worked with were all so varied and different, but I liked seeing how he reacted and dealt with each person.  As I said before, he didn't seem to understand emotions very well, but he was very observant and able to pick up the little quirks different people have, and use that knowledge when dealing with them.

The character I actually disliked was his wife.  She seemed to play a lot of head-games.  Instead of just coming out and saying what the problem was, she behaved immaturely.  I mean, she'd been married to him for quite awhile, so she knew how he was and, it just seemed like she was constantly trying to work against his personality, or at least use it against him.

About the book:
No one should smile before the sun rises.  On the happiness scale, content is about as good as you can get to in these dark hours.  I wake early most every morning because content works for me.  Since becoming the father of two, this tiny portion of the day is all the me-time I have left.  If people were honest, which they mostly aren't, I think they would admit to wanting more time alone.  It's 5:47am and I'm sitting quietly in the kitchen, where there are no responsibilities, no guilt, and no unmet expectations.  Simply silence.

Mitch Pederson, a forty-something executive in the high-tech world, made no allowance for blackmail in his comprehensive plans to ascend to the top of an electronics company.  His carefully ordered world quickly unravels into a chaos that threatens everything he cares about.  As he puts the pieces of his life back together he discovers something about himself that is much more than the sum of the parts.

About the author:
The son of a career Air Force serviceman, Leo spent his childhood living the nomadic life of a military brat.  Having survived the constant uprooting, Leo draws upon the time spent in the four corners of the US as well as Europe to develop his characters.
            Leo has finally settled down in San Diego, California with his wife of over thirty years.  Aside from writing, and engineering (the necessary day job), he enjoys time with his children/grandchildren, running distance races and all things baseball.

"I write contemporary novels where I stress a character's beliefs to the point of breaking and then I follow along for the ride.  My goal is to offer readers a pause in their lives to think about what they believe and why." ~Leo Dufresne

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