Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Ends: First Mover. First Maker by Mark A. Rivera

A Column by Kurt Sass
Lots of Plot, Confusing Ending 

As a change of pace, I have been asked to review a short novel. This book has nothing to do with the topic of mental health, but was written by a mental health consumer.

I must preface this by stating that I do admire anyone who has the fortitude, grit and determination to put pen to paper and write an entire novel, as although I have written for many years, a 20-page short story has been my personal limit.

The story starts out innocently enough, where the main character Samantha, who believes she has by chance run into her former and long admired (as well as pined for) mentor, Saul. She answers his invitation to his apartment hopeful for a romantic rendezvous, only to be given a mystery in an envelope and a promise that all will be answered the next day.

Mark A. Rivera
But this is not to be, as what follows is a series of flashbacks, cross country trips and even more mysteries. Mr. Rivera does a very good job of keeping the reader interested while adding layer upon layer to the intrigue. Whether it be a sudden death, remarkable medical test results, crop circles, or time travel, we are continually kept on edge awaiting the outcome.

Unfortunately, as much as we are kept on edge, I was disappointed at the confusing ending. There was so much going on in such a short period of time, it was extremely difficult to follow. Samantha attempts to explain what has just transpired, but to quote the character of Jack on the last page: “I'm gonna pretend I understand you.” If the ending was laid out in more detail it would have lived up to the promise of the remainder of the book.

I myself can easily see how difficult novel-writing can be.

Editor’s Note: Mr. Rivera’s book is available on in paperback or digital for Kindle as well as, and Google Books. Any retailer can order a copy for the customer. If you are a mental health consumer, a family member or a mental health professional and have a book that you would like reviewed, please write to with “Book Ends” in the subject.

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