Clarion’s ForeWord review of Team Charlie is now in. Robin Edmunds writes that, “readers will not be disappointed when they follow Charlie’s journey in Mark Evan’s evocative and memorable book.” Edmunds goes on to write that, “readers will become invested in Charlie’s story,” and that, “twists and turns keep readers guessing about Charlie’s fate until the very end.” Further, Edmonds states that, “Evan’s writing is full of wit, humor, and pathos. The chattering dialogue between and among the distinct personalities in Charlie’s head is sometimes humorous. The details are evocative, and well-rounded characters abound.” I grew to love Charlie as I wrote this book, and I enjoyed writing his story. As Edmunds states, “Readers who enjoy stepping into another’s shoes and glimpsing the challenges that are faced will find Team Charlie a clever and sympathetic take on mental health.” Edmunds gives Team Charlie four stars out of five.
One of my favorite passages from Team Charlie is where Charlie’s psychiatrist explains the omnipresence of delusions:
“Delusions are neither good nor bad as a rule; they have no moral direction. They are simply a description of fact. And the fact is each and every one of us lives according to his or her own delusions, and the goal here isn’t to rid ourselves of them, but rather to pick and choose, to find the delusion that best suits us. Life is a great supermarket of delusions; you can take your cart down the aisle and take a little of this, a little of that, take whatever works for you. If something doesn’t work out you can bring it back for a refund and get something else in exchange. Anyone who tells you they don’t visit such a supermarket is either lying to you, or lying to themselves. Pick any person and ask yourself how they see the real world, how they imagine themselves within this vast confusing fabric we call reality, and you will find each and every one of them living out their own delusions.”
For those of you who like previews, here’s a brief excerpt from my upcoming novel, King of Kings:
“It has a lot to do with my appetite for meat. Do you suppose a kind and loving God would really want all earth’s creatures tearing at each other’s skin, devouring each other’s flesh and entrails? Shouldn’t the earth’s plant life alone be enough to provide sustenance? Why give so many of us this brutal appetite for eating each other? It is brutal, isn’t it? It certainly isn’t kind or loving. I see God as that mean little boy who puts two insects in a jar, shaking them up and hoping for a fight to the bitter end.”
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.com is my latest collection of short stories, Hula Ville. From the back cover: “Welcome to Hula Ville! In this collection of short stories, award-winning author Mark Evan takes you on a page-turning romp through everyday existence in Southern California. You may find yourself crying, or perhaps even angry. But most often, you’ll be laughing out loud. With his sense of humor and imaginative plots, Evan brings the reader into the idiosyncrasies of his characters. His subjects range from mischievous school boys to elderly women, from retired aerospace engineers to harried housewives. No one is immune to Evan’s insightful takes on modern life.”
In Team Charlie, it is clear from the start that Charlie is a black-and-white movie buff. These old movies play a role in the way Charlie sees his life. What you may not have noticed at first glance is that most the names and places in my story are drawn from character actors and places in selected old movies. The White Way Hotel, for example, is taken from the Marx Brothers’ Room Service. Edward Horton, Una Merkel, and Glenda Farrell are all well-known Hollywood character actors. I liked the idea of these classic characters and places mingling with Charlie’s modern life. Are you a classic movie fan? How many other characters and places can you find in Team Charlie that have been so named?