May 17, 2019

 

Book Review - The Second Life of Eddie Coyne (by Louis K. Lowy)

Title: The Second Life of Eddie Coyne
Series: -
Author: Louis K. Lowy
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Dark Contemporary Fantasy
Publisher: IFWG Publishing
Release Date: May 27th, 2019
Format: Paperback

Pages: 245




"Eddie Coyne loves playing the horses. Loves it so much it's ruining his relationship with his wife and six-year-old son. In a last ditch effort to prove he’s not a loser in their eyes, Eddie places a seemingly impossible bet on a long shot and hits pay dirt.

But before he can cash in and make amends with his family, he’s attacked and left for dead by a greedy hoodlum looking to cash in on Eddie’s winnings. Dying, Eddie wakes up in the presence of the Jesses, a monolithic group of six whose job it is to decide who enters heaven and who enters hell. The Jesses tell Eddie he's stuck in the middle—not good enough for heaven, not bad enough for hell. They entice him to go in on one final bet to break the dead heat.


If he triumphs, they stamp his ticket to paradise. If he loses, he spends eternity in the netherworld. The bet? Eddie must prevent someone chosen by the Jesses from taking their own life. Thinking it will be a piece of cake, Eddie agrees. He quickly learns the Jesses are more cunning than he'd imagined."



The Second Life of Eddie Coyne
(click to read an excerpt)

- Review -
What Made Me Read It
I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The author described it as "the story of a dying gambler who takes on one final bet for the ultimate prize—a chance to save his soul"; the synopsis sounded interesting and with potential good character development so I decided to give it a try.
 

The Plot
Eddie Coyne doesn't have a gambling problem, he manipulates odds and uses them to his benefit. All he needs is one big win at the Hialeah Racetrack to prove to his wife Carly and   6-year-old son Ben that he's not a loser.
 

When Jonah the Whale decides to collect his debt ahead of time, Eddie is sent tumbling down the stairs and into the presence of the Jesses, 6 ageless gray-hooded figures in charge of the afterlife. Not entirely dead yet, Eddie is stuck in limbo, a neutral ground between the higher regions and the lowlands of the hereafter. To tip the scale in the final direction, the Jesses propose a new wager that will decide Eddie's eternal fate: if he can stop any one of 3 chosen people from taking their own lives he can move on to the upper levels, but if he fails he'll be sent down to his own personal hell.
 

The rules are simple: he must never reveal his identity or the purpose of his mission, and the chosen suicidal must hold her hand and repeat the phrase "I accept life". Escorted by Charles, a gangly unassuming young man in charge of observing and recording his performance, Eddie accepts the bet - to convince either Angel, Amelia or Lu to choose life over death. Eddie has had better odds than 1-in-3 and the Jesses keep changing the house rules, but beating the odds has to do with calculation, not emotions, and for Carly and Ben's sake he must not lose this bet...
 

The Good
"The Second Life of Eddie Coyne" is an urban fantasy novel with the main plot set in modern days Miami, but also including a few historical fiction elements. It follows the personal journey of Eddie Coyne, a down on his luck horse-racing gambler who finds himself making one final bet with his own soul on the line. After a near fatal fall at the hands of debt collector Jonah the Whale, Eddie's soul is stuck in a neutral limbo; to settle where he belongs in, Eddie must convince one of three potential suicidals to choose life instead so he can move on to the higher planes of the great beyond. Accompanied by Charles, a misplaced angel still questioning whether his own short life had been worth it, Eddie is first sent to 1485 Medieval England as the servant of a teenage girl trying to evade an unwanted arranged marriage; on his 2nd mission in 1937 Miami, Eddie assumes the role of the photographer of aviatrix Amelia, about to make history while trying to pave the way for women; on his 3rd and last chance mission, set 4 months after his fall, Eddie tries to help a dying elderly woman, Lu, to reconnect with her estranged grandson.
 

The narrative flows smoothly for the most part, with a faster pace in the last third of the book where the author connects all the threads developed throughout the plot. The characters are 3-dimentional and believable, acting accordingly with their roles in the story, with the main character Eddie showing the greatest development: from a gambler who only cares about manipulating and beating the odds, to someone who recognizes and accepts his flaws and failings.
 

The book deals with themes of personal regrets, missed opportunities and second chances, the risks of taking important things in life for granted, making choices and learning to face the consequences.
 

The Not So Good
I couldn't relate with the main character's first mission in Medieval England. Without spoiling the plot too much, this particular segment is a reenactment of a classic unfulfilled love story that doesn't click with me, being a genre I don't care much about. But that's a personal quirk of mine, I'm sure other readers will enjoy the author's homage.
 

As for the 2nd mission, I failed to see how Amelia was a potential suicidal in need of rescue... as far as I can tell, there was never any indication that this character was even considering ending her life so I probably missed an important clue along the way. But this segment does link with the 3rd and final mission and the way the author brilliantly connects all the dots earned the book an extra book/star in the final rating.
 

Final Rating
"The Second Life of Eddie Coyne" is an urban fantasy novel set mostly in modern days Miami, but also including a few historical fiction elements. Recommended for those who enjoy stories about personal growth, facing one's failings and fighting for a second chance in life.



• • • •


- About the Author -
Website: www.louisklowy.com
Twitter: @LouisKLowy
Genre: Science Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy
 

I moved from Pittsburgh to South Florida at the age of  seven and have lived here since. I wanted to be a musician, but ended up being a firefighter. I was lucky in a way, because I continued to play music while I worked an exciting and terrific job. My biggest thrill in music was when my band, Hemlock, was signed to Warner Brothers records. We recorded two songs that became dance hits: "Disco Break" and "Body Rhythm." We also wrote the soundtrack to a grade B teen film called "Swap Meet." Google Hemlock Disco Break for info and youtube clips.
 

My biggest thrill on the fire department was the very rare times we brought someone back who had no heartbeat. By the time I left the fire department I was fed up with bands. Good bands are like bad fires: unpredictable and volatile. I was tired of growing to love the groups I played bass in only to see them fall apart.
 

I always loved writing. In the many bands I played in, I composed nearly all the lyrics. It was a natural progression to move into story writing. Notice I didn't say "easy." It's a struggle everyday for me to find the right words to match the right thoughts. Most of the time, to my disappointment, I fail. But every once in a while I get it right. When I do, I get nearly the same thrill I did when I heard "Disco Break" on American Bandstand, or when the defibrillator jolted a heart into beating again.
 

Louis K. Lowy’s first published novel, DIE LAUGHING (IFWG Publishing 2011), is a humorously dark science fiction adventure set in the 1950s.
 

His 2015 novel, PEDAL (Rereleased in 2017 by IFWG Publishing), tells the story of a 49-yr-old music teacher who loses her job and struggles to reclaim her life through bicycle racing.
 

TO DREAM, book one of his science fiction epic, ANATOMY OF A HUMACHINE (IFWG Publishing), was released in 2017.
 

Louis’ short stories have appeared in, among others, New Plains Review, The MacGuffin Magazine, the anthology Everything is Broken, and the Chaffey Review.
 

A former firefighter, he is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship and an alumnus of Florida International University’s creative writing program.

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2 comments:

  1. I read the book and found it entertaining. I'm also a Floridian and I found the descriptions about my old stomping grounds really lovely. It's also historical although fiction. You want to like the characters even though they are not perfect people. Just like us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read the book and found it entertaining. I'm also a Floridian and I found the descriptions about my old stomping grounds really lovely. It's also historical although fiction. You want to like the characters even though they are not perfect people. Just like us.

    ReplyDelete