A couple years ago I did something rather dangerous and reviewed a novel written by an e-friend, Neovictorian’s Sanity. Fortunately, the novel was in fact enjoyable and genuinely interesting. Shortly after publishing Sanity, Neovictorian announced that he was working on a sequel, Reality, and I was, for the first time since high school, looking forward to a new novel by a living author. Amazing! Being swamped by schoolwork and wedding planning kept me from starting and finishing the book until recently, well after its January 2020 release date, but so it goes.
Was it worth the wait? Mostly, yes. The short version of this review is that if you enjoyed Sanity (and yes, you need to read that first), then you’ll also enjoy Reality. If you didn’t, you won’t.
Like Sanity, Reality starts off with a bang:
Sometimes it helps if you don’t have too much imagination.
I’m starting to put pressure on the seatbelt buckle, to snap it into its slot, looking down to find the right angle when in my peripheral vision the reflection off the car hood changes, the orb of the sun cut into by a shadow that shouldn’t be coming from that direction and I let go the buckle and begin to drop right, across the seat and there’s a burst of light and sound over my head and a shower of glass across my back and legs but I ignore it and get down, down, flatten the right side of my face into the leather bench seat.
It still has that new car smell.
I reach with my left hand and pull the passenger door handle toward me, give the door a shove and launch out behind it, pulling on the edge of the seat with my right hand and using knees and chest muscles and everything and anything to get some velocity out the door. There’s another big sound, different because the windshield is already shattered and a gentle rain of safety glass pebbles falls on the back of my head but I don’t care. I make it mostly out, elbows on the asphalt and the rebounding door hits my legs but I just keep pulling and twisting toward the front of the car to get a visual, my legs finally clear and hit the ground. Between the front tires I see a pair of black boots and dark pants 12 or 15 yards away and I squirm to get some clearance for my right hip, get a good grip on the butt of the .45 and another shot comes, the deep throaty boom of a 12-gauge. I smoothly draw, I’ve practiced from this position and every position get a two-hand grip a flash sight picture on the left boot and send one, the sound is enormous in the confined space under the car, a wave of dust and heat bounces off the pavement rushing away from me and when it dissipates a second later I see the legs of the shooter collapsing, a dark figure tumbling toward me and the shotgun clatters and bounces, sliding along the asphalt and the figure’s chest hits the ground right into my sight picture and I send the second one smoothly, pressing the trigger so gently I can feel the perfect location of it, just ahead of the first knuckle.…