For those who have not read the first Zeke Archer story, This Was Never About Basketball, ALL ROADS LEAD TO LAWRENCE seems like a standard tale about one young man’s relationship with his family, friends, and the sport he loves. Yet the first few pages prove otherwise as Zeke gets momentarily transported from his basketball game into the 7th Dimension. There he meets a rugby player wearing “old time” gear who crops up when Zeke least expects it. Zeke’s relationship with the 7th Dimension and basketball’s creator, Dr. James Naismith, provides a unique backdrop to a story that would otherwise be about loss and the power of human resilience.
The “Lawrence” in ALL ROADS LEAD TO LAWRENCE is both a character in the story and a physical place, the latter of which Zeke must get to before Dr. Naismith’s time on Earth expires. It’s Lawrence, Zeke’s autistic genius friend who specializes in math and inter-dimensional portal theories, who convinces the main character to make contact with Dr. Naismith and a loved one who recently passed on. Lawrence works furiously to prove that death is not the end of human consciousness, something that creates a fascinating, creative, and compelling narrative. Leener has taken the scientific principle that energy can neither be created nor destroyed to provide a story that makes the reader think. The death of the physical body does not impact consciousness, Lawrence argues, telling Zeke that the loved one in question isn’t really dead because he’s “done the math.” Whether the reader has recently lost a beloved friend or family member, or simply wants to ponder the role of energy in the universe, ALL ROADS LEAD TO LAWRENCE provides a reassuring and enthralling take on the subject.
The short chapters read quickly, and there’s enough action to hold the reader’s interest from start to finish. A first-person narrative, the reader also enjoys the story from Zeke’s perspective and feels for him as his world implodes and he navigates his way out. Much like the game that’s his passion, Zeke must think quickly and act with purpose and integrity to make contact with Dr. Naismith and subsequently one of his favorite people in the world who isn’t as dead as he thought.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO LAWRENCE provides a fascinating look at human consciousness in a unique coming-of-age tale about loss, friendship, love, and resilience.
~Kent Page McGroarty for IndieReader