“Book Review: Farewell Olympus”
Reviewed by Helen Barnes
A gripping literary mystery with intellect and wit, sure to keep you guessing.
Farewell Olympus is Jack Messenger’s debut novel. It is clever, entertaining, and written in a first-person narrative that instantly captures and transports you to the dark world of our hero.
Howard is a young British man living in Paris. Seemingly innocent and naïve, he has found himself in the fortunate position of having been freely loaned the use of a luxury Parisian penthouse apartment by the mysterious Serge.
When the novel begins, Howard is already settled into his Parisian life as a young author still attempting to finish his first two novels, while considering himself secure in a romance with the intelligent, beautiful, and career-driven Delphine.
One evening, Howard’s half-brother Eugene arrives at his door. He moves into Howard’s apartment without invitation and with him, brings mystery, violence, and dark characters to both of their lives. Howard finds himself thrown into a web of mysterious and dangerous events. Are they linked? And how does Eugene’s sudden arrival fit in? Are any of the characters really who they seem to be?
It is through Howard’s ingenuous eyes that this intriguing plot unfolds. Thanks to his at-times gullible nature, I could not help but laugh at his observations and continue cheering him on. The vulnerability he demonstrates through his storytelling is human, and I’m confident that most readers will find him easy and entertaining to follow around.
Author Jack Messenger has written this novel with light-hearted wit and humor, turning what could otherwise be a dark mystery into a light and pleasant read. Messenger has evident insight into the complexity of relationships and human psychology, making his characters fully credible and observed with astute detail.
The main character’s trusting nature and his love-hate relationship with his brother make him instantly likeable. His brother Eugene is a typical playboy character who gets through life on his charm and good looks, which offers a great contrast and a dynamic relationship.
“My half-brother had done it again—arrived out of nowhere and taken over my life…. Eugene had mixed me the same old cocktail of guilt and inferiority and like a fool I’d downed it in one.”
Overall, Farewell Olympus is an intelligent, often funny novel in which the reader is easily transported to the heart of Howard’s Parisian world. The dynamics of Howard’s various relationships change as the story unfolds and make for a plot that kept me awake late into the night. For anyone who enjoys a smart, thrilling mystery, Farewell Olympus is a great choice for you.
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