I finished this book on the same day I posted that I was late with this review. On that day I finished my work, did a couple of posts (including my tour stop post for this book), had a late dinner and then plopped down on my bed with my iPad and finished the book relatively quickly! Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with any more details about that so let’s talk about the book, shall we?
The Heart of Darkness Club by Gary Reilly
The entire book is narrated from a first person perspective by the main character Murph, a 40-something Denver cab driver who also happens to be an English major grad and an unpublished novelist. The book is basically a snapshot of his life as a cabbie or as an “asphalt warrior” and about what kind of person he is, and then it gets pretty interesting when he picks up a guy who may or may have not left him a note on a five dollar bill. He picks this guy up a couple more times before the guy disappears and Murph gets investigated by the police.
The Heart of Darkness Club is the third book in the Asphalt Warrior Series. Find out more about the series here.
I really liked this book. I loved the writing style, the flow of the story, the plot itself, the characters, almost everything. The cover could use a little more work because it just doesn’t capture how interesting this book is. I haven’t read the first two novels in the series, but it didn’t matter because The Heart of Darkness Club can stand on its own. There may be references to stuff that happened in the previous books, but the author didn’t dwell on those too much and they didn’t leave any burning questions for the reader.
The character Murph is a pretty interesting guy. He has these funny and amusing thoughts and terms for everything. I love that he’s an English major and unpublished writer. It comes out in how he thinks and talks. Say for example, when he finds that note on the 5 dollar bill, he breaks it down and analyzes the choice of words and what those words convey. It’s pretty amusing.
I also enjoyed the mystery in the story–the thing with the five dollar bill and then the police investigation. The author did a very good job of keeping the intrigue and the mystery.
Overall, this was a very easy and enjoyable read. I really liked the writing and the story. I can’t think of any book to compare at the moment, but if you like the street smart kind of lit fic, you might enjoy this one.
Disclosure: I received a review copy from the author’s representative in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to give a positive review. All opinions expressed above are my own.
Gary Reilly was a writer.
Simply stated, that was the essence of the man.
Born in Arkansas City, Kansas he spent his early years in Kansas and Colorado in a large Irish-Catholic family–seven brothers and sisters. The family moved to Denver where Gary attended parochial high school, graduating in 1967.
He served two years in the army, including a tour in Vietnam as a military policeman.
After discharge, Gary majored in English at Colorado State University and continued studies at the Denver campus of the University of Colorado.
All along, his overarching ambition was to write fiction. And he did, prodigiously. His first published short story, The Biography Man, was included in the Pushcart Prize Award anthology in 1979.
Later he turned to novels, several based on his army experiences. While he wrote both serious and genre fiction, his greatest invention was the character, Murph, a likable, bohemian Denver cab driver. Starting with The Asphalt Warrior, Gary cranked out eleven Murph novels.
His dedication to writing did not include self promotion. Instead of seeking agents and publishers, he focussed on his craft, writing and rewriting, polishing to perfection. He wrote well over twenty novels before he thought he was ready make his work public.
Unfortunately, he passed away in March, 2011, before he could realize that dream.
Friends and family remember Gary as a fun-loving, generous soul who always had time for other writers, helping them shape their work, getting it ready for print.
Now, through Running Meter Press and Big Earth Publishing in Boulder, Colorado, Gary Reilly’s fiction is finally coming to bookstores in Colorado and across the nation.