- Book Title: Speedy Rewards
- Book Series: Working Class #1
- Author: Jeff Erno
- Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing (June 5, 2015)
- Book Length: 250 pages
- Genre: Contemporary, Romance
- Reviewed by: Diane
- Rating: 4 Star
- Posting Date: October 20, 2015
Speedy Rewards brings to the table seven major players, one stage with multiple sets—a construct reminiscent of A Day at the Opera but infused with pathos—and a chain of events spiraling out of control. There is humor here, but of the kinder, gentler variety. It sets reality on its ear by taking a huge ensemble cast and stirring them in a blender of coincidence and consequence you couldn’t predict if you tried.
Each character brings something unique to the narrative. Phil is the everyman, blind to his own worth in so many ways, yet determined to stick it out, to be the good person despite the obstacles thrown in his path. Mark is that polar opposite: the man you love to hate because he is, quite
simply, a dick. Then there’s Vince, oy vey, Vince who I wanted to smack upside the head with a limp cod.
I’m not a huge fan of ginormous ensemble plays, not even at the cinema… unless they’re carrying big hammers and Tom Hiddleston is playing Loki… but the plot and the spotlight on each of the main characters is more than just incidental set pieces. There’s a logic to it all, building from within individual scenes to a finale where most of the threads are tied off in strange and mostly satisfying ways.
There were a few times I found myself floundering to remember who, what, where, and why but overall it was rather easy to keep up with the narrative flow, to develop favorites among the diverse characters, and to actually be surprised at some of the character arcs and revelations. Dislike can change to sympathy in the blink of an eye—something Phil discovers as he tries to put out fires sprouting everywhere.
Speedy Mart is nothing like my local WaWa, at least on the surface, but after reading Speedy Rewards I’m not sure I can pull in for a coffee and a fill-up without a smirk, wondering what really happens on the other side of that Employee Only door.
Because the author won me over and guided me across the speed bump of so many characters and some suspension of disbelief issues, that makes Speedy Rewards a solid Four Star, recommended read.
Phil Mitchell pours his heart and soul into his job as manager of Speedy Mart, a local convenience store. He loves his work and he loves his fellow employees, but when it comes to his personal life, Phil is lonely and depressed and still pining for his long-departed ex.
He embarks upon the week from hell where anything that can go wrong does. It begins with a truck crashing into his outdoor sign and only goes downhill from there.
Add an asshole homophobic boss hell bent on seeing him fired and Phil realizes he needs to put into place a plan to save himself and his job.
First step in his plan… do something about his love life.
Meanwhile, Ezra, one of Phil’s team members, is dealing with his own roller coaster ride of a week.
As is Brandon, the local cop…
And Mark, the homophobic boss…
Perhaps, with a little… luck, the next week will be better.
Erno subsequently has published several gay-themed novels. His greatest passion in life is writing, and he hopes to be able to continue sharing his work with readers worldwide.
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