A semi-disgraced angel named Homer is tasked by God to save humanity by helping a particular book reach publication. The apparent author of this book, a corporate magazine business writer named Tom, is receiving rejection after rejection from literary agents. His relationship with his advertising account manager fiancé Jamie is suffering as a result. All three principal characters experience enormous frustration in their lives because, per a directive from the Almighty, Homer can’t change the free will of humans, while both Tom and Jamie are surrounded by shrewish, backstabbing coworkers. Tom’s attempt to find literary representation is foiled by a literary agent who spends time claiming he plagiarized his book, in part because of her terrible relationship with her husband/business partner. The mix is thickened with a domineering mother, a freshly out gay little brother, a history of familial neglect, self-harm, and a gaseous, obese Italian husband.
The writer’s credo to “show, not tell” has been dramatically ignored in THE SILENT PARTNER, which perhaps is not a surprise, given the use of an exclamation point in the title. Every motivation, backstory, and character trait is explicated at length to the reader. This is not to say that the book does not have its share of surprises, but they are delivered in a quasi soap-opera style. An assassination sequence caps off the book, providing a strange and inadvertently hilarious resolution.
While the book has passages that are engaging, and arresting lines throughout: “With depression on her left and loneliness on her right, she felt like she was being ushered by thugs down a long corridor of unavoidable failure;” unwieldy straddling of multiple genres and tendency towards overblown theatrics make it a challenging read.
THE SILENT PARTNER provides some enticing moments but feels like a mash-up of soap opera and weirdly self-defeating fantasy.
Reviewed by Julia Lai for IndieReader.