Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Book Review: The Connection Game

Benny Basilworth makes connections. A rare intellect, he sees things that others don't see and draws conclusions that others completely fail to grasp. He has the kind of mind that can make a person a national sensation on the television gameshow "The Connection Game"– and the kind of mind that can be the target of predators.

Despite his brilliance, Benny and his family find themselves destitute, living in a basement apartment with one tiny window that affords them only the view of the feet of passersby on the street above. It is from this vantagepoint that Benny once again starts making connections. Mad, inconceivable connections. Connections that can change lives . . . and turn the entire world upside down.

The latest from S.S. Turner will be released on March 21st of 2023. The Story Plant provided an early galley for review.

Last year, I read and reviewed Turner's Secrets of a River Swimmer. I found the author's approach to storytelling different and intriguing. On this new book, the story is a bit more straightforward however it does of some intriguing elements of its own. Rather than growth from success, the reader sees how characters are impacted and grow after going through a terrible hardship. It does not focus as much on the hardship, which might make for a depressing read, but instead focuses on the rising up from the pit.

Though Benny is the one with the brilliant mind who sees all of these connections, the major spotlight of the tale is on Belinda (Bell), his wife. She is the one who narrates the story, and it is through her, the "outsider" of her family dynamic, that much of the plot is propelled. She is the one who is trying to hold everyone together when things are falling apart, and then she is the one who is trying to make sense of the connections of the passersby and is putting herself into possibly harrowing situations.

The topic of extreme paranoia also comes into play in this narrative. It becomes much more evident as the story progresses. At times there were even a couple spots where I was wondering what was going on and whether the connections that Benny was seeing emerge were actually valid or not. Still, I was very interested in continuing to see how things would ultimately play out, especially when the pace of the plot got frantic. I encourage readers to stick with it as well.

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