Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Book Review: 'Journey to the West Valley Wall' by Mark L. Lloyd
‘I’m not perfect and probably never will be’
British Columbia author Mark L. Lloyd has published two novels to date – BURNING THE LAST BRIDGE and JOURNEY TO THE WEST VALLEY WALL – both novels set in British Columbia. Mark has a fine grasp of altered mental states – neuroses – and uses this perception to enhance the characters of his stories.
Mark’s writing style is fluid and elegant and he is able to set a mood in his Prologue better than many more seasoned writers: ‘I reach up to touch my forehead after smacking it hard on top of the steering wheel. My eyes remain closed as I move my right hand up to touch my face, but I’m hampered by something preventing me from lifting my arm. The pain in my right leg is intensifying form the agony of a burning sensation. Still, half unconscious, I try raising my left arm up, but it too is snagged by the same type of restriction as my other arm. “Wake up. Wakeup. You need to get out of your car!” I yell at myself, fearing no one is coming to my aid. “Come on. Come o, “ I continue to say trying to motivate myself to move or at least gain full consciousness… ”the car is on fire; you must try to get out, I continue to press into my head.’…..and this is all a story for a book the main character is creating.
The plot synopsis explains or main characters predicament – ‘Journey to the West Valley Wall is a fictional story about a science fiction writer Jack Van Horne who has been struggling with an increasing case of Agoraphobia for about the past ten years. This mental affliction leaves him powerless to leave his current surroundings of the street his apartment is situated. Jack has only enough strength to go visit his doctor at one end of his road to the coffee shop located at the other end. Everything from groceries to clothing he buys online or has his roommate Shelly fetch for him. His doctor has tried many types of medication with zero effect to break him from his self-imposed prison. The impact of his mental illness also prevents him from finishing the final book of his space fantasy series which has also increased the psychological strain on his well being. Jack’s editor and a friend believe Jack is just suffering from writer’s block; however, Jack knows that he indeed isn’t well and that people are dismissing his mental illness as a genuine illness. When Jack is tasked with watching his niece for two days out of the sanctity of his safe zone surroundings, his journey begins to the West Valley Wall which this adventure will either aid in his sanity or cement his demise’
A fine combination of adventure, psychodrama, and thriller penned by a man with an obvious gift. He appears ready to step into the realm of favored natural story weavers!
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.