Danté Roenik creates ad campaigns, reveling in the fine art of rendering his concepts on million-dollar canvasses financed by big-budget clients. Intoxicated by the sheer power of directing public opinion, he dares wage war against the conglomerate behind a worldwide anti-depressant increasingly associated with sporadic violence. To juxtapose his images with reality, he enlists a mixed palette of business tycoons, his fiancée/attorney, a team of corporate-spy soldiers of fortune, one resurgent news anchor, and the best TV-production crew in Chicago.
But the sharp lines dividing perception from truth begin to blur when the darker motives shaping mass media come to light. Forced to re-examine the ethics of designer pharmacology, Danté is painted into a corner, his future about to be erased as patients die, clients lie, and unhealthy doses of murder prove too hard to swallow.
Too late to whitewash the stain of deceit, Danté must decide who deserves to appear in his picture, the true subject an unfinished self-portrait way past its own deadline.
It’s not what you see, not what you get . . .
But all you could ever imagine.
Let Danté show you how . . .
With a Fantasy Patch!
Ribbon Reviews for this book:
(These are similar to our Bookworm reviews, but they are
not submitted by our in-house reviewers. Each Ribbon Review corresponds to the matching color of our Bookworm reviews.)
“Fantasy Patch” by Stephen Geez is well written and displays the author’s fine understanding of the craft of wordsmithing. Full disclosure – I received this book as a prize for attending a blog tour hosted by Mr. Geez.
Fantasy Patch is difficult to characterize into a specific genre. The closest I would say would be a modern sort of high stakes thriller – complete with shadowy corporations bent on profiting from an addictive concoction with hidden side effects. This sort of story has been done many times but Mr Geez manages to put an interesting spin on it with our main protagonist in essence being a ad-man/marketing/PR type who discovers and then is bent on exposing and foiling the corporate malfeasance.
The characters in this work are richly drawn, with personality foibles and quirks that both endear them to the reader and help the story to progress. There is well constructed dialog throughout and the situations are both drawn from life and random enough to be interesting. I did, (with some caveats), enjoy reading this story and with all that said – my review.
Our story opens as we are introduced to Dante’ Roenik, the advertising campaign manager who has the soul of a frustrated artist. Dante’s company represents corporate clients with big bucks, crafting ad campaigns that can make or break their products. One of their latest clients though has a product that is showing distressing side effects. Despite the possible issues the client wants the product promoted, to children!
Dante and his mentor Frank take a stand against this deliberate manipulation and lose their positions as a result. They embark on a mission to expose the fraud and become deeply entangled in a high stakes multimillion dollar conflict where the lines between business and life become hopelessly blurred. The action starts to pick up pace and we are drawn into a deep well of corporate intrigue, conflicting stories, hero’s and antiheros and a developing mystery that weaves thru this exciting tale. In the end it is Dante’s sense of artistry and his purity of soul that guides him through the maelstrom.
As we follow along there are a blizzard of secondary characters brought onstage. A great deal of the dialog and action in this tale is devoted to describing detailed legal, business and financial matters as they pertain to the aforementioned characters and the changes that come into their lives because of them. There are some surprising twists and a good deal of unexplained or at least somewhat mysterious events intertwined in all of their lives. No spoilers but you will be very intrigued, and perhaps puzzled (as I was) by how this story unfolds.
I gave this book a rating of four stars. The plot is just overly detailed and somewhat unbelievable. The brilliant writing is what saves this work, every scene is beautifully described. The dialog is spot on, well-constructed throughout. This book also loses points is in the somewhat haphazard plotting, the absolute horde of secondary characters and the tumultuous story arc. I enjoy Mr. Geez’s writing style and character descriptions, he is obviously an experienced and talented author and I look forward to other works by his hand.
Submitted by Michael Lynes
Ad man Dante Roenik “just wants to draw”, but he does much more in this fast-paced page-turner. But, when Roenik stumbles into a big pharma conspiracy he does much more than draw. When he and much of his team are unceremoniously dismissed from big ad agency Kehoe/Lundy due to “restructuring”, they band together to form their own business. Encouraged and assisted by soon to retire Frank Dellman, his former Vice President, the team sets out to expose a pharmaceutical company’s dangerous new drug, Parzilac. M-Slovak seems to be involved in covering up the violent die effects of the drug.
As the story progresses once failed newsman, Hal Neusome, becomes the face of stories swirling around M-Slovak. Along with indomitable cameraman, Byron, they seem to be at locations when all hell breaks loose. Aided by a couple of “spy guys”, men who are used to surveillance and more, they pursue the dragon of M-Slovak.
But, Parzilac isn’t the only drug in this tale. Along comes Aller-Tat; a colorful press on temporary tattoo that can identify a person’s allergy, relieving the minds of parents and adults. Using kid friendly characters, the “tats”. Are sure to become popular with concerned mommies and daddies, as well as the kiddies who will be entranced with the dragons, fairies, and all the other designs.
There are no minor characters in this book. Each one is invested with a definite personality; character flaws and strengths. Kristen, Byron, Billy Sizemore and his Wave Slicer, Melissa, and even her little son Taj, are intricate pieces in the story of good versus evil, right versus wrong. It’s a book where you are rooting hard for the good guys throughout while wondering if they will survive, ethics intact.
Meanwhile, Dante is pursuing his love relationship with lawyer girlfriend Cyn SiCauge. Stepping up to represent families negatively impacted by Parilax, she and Dante are a formidable team. He dreams of a future with her, but Cyn seems to be more intent on her career than marriage and babies.
Friends are made, secrets exposed, and there is an unexpected twist that was stunning. Geez skillfully keeps all the balls in the air, and characters who seem minor become integral to the outcome of the tale. The action is non-stop and much like media itself, every turn reveals another piece of the puzzle.
With characters you can love and hate, dialogue that is sharp and believable, and a winding plot, Fantasy Patch provides an inside look at the machinations of public relations, big pharmacy, and the high dollars moving around in both fields. This is definitely a thriller you will race through, eager to reach the tense and exciting climax and the very satisfying conclusion.