The Maze: The Lost Labyrinth by Jason Brannon
It is a rare thriller suspense novel that attracts my attention and keeps it all the way through. The Maze has done exactly that for me; not once but three times I’ve read through the book before writing this review. There is so much layered in what appears to be a simple tale that it leaves me pondering the subtleties and nuances of a unique modern allegory long after I have finished. Kudos to the author. This story is masterfully crafted.
From the beginning, we are aware of a physical maze being constructed somewhere. Demons and angels are present as well as the Minotaur, the element of the maze that reminds us of ancient tales of Greek mythology. We get the impression that a stage is being set up and that something will trigger this trap into action. “The doorway to this labyrinth is opened with sinful intent, and you walked in brazenly.” Who walked in?
The first third of the book introduces us to the main characters and establishes the circumstances that make the maze relevant. Jamie Burrough’s family is vulnerable and temptations are all around them. From most points of view, Jamie hasn’t done anything wrong to deserve the distress his wife feels. Most of his story is told in the first person, so we see only his perspective on the incidents that eventually land him in the maze. If up to this point the story seems to move along too slowly, be patient. It picks up the pace after the twelveth chapter when Jamie finds himself in the maze.
Also important to the plot is another character who acts as the catalyst that drives the disaster within Jamie’s marriage. His name is Darrell Gene, a loner who just doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere–a perfect villain/victim just waiting to be controlled by someone offering him what he wants most in life. When wooden carved angels begin talking to him, we realize this character is troubled, dangerous and seriously creepy. And he lives across the street from Jamie and his family.
At first Jamie thinks the Maze is a prison, a place of punishment. But eventually he realizes it has merit. “Think of this as a place where you can discover who you truly are. Angels and demons abound in the depths of the labyrinth if only you know where to look. Some will be out to kill you and delight in the damnation of your soul. Others will try to help you and bask in the light of your spirit. The choices, however, are yours to make. You will own the triumphs–and the mistakes. A man shapes the course of his life by the decisions he makes, and you will write your destiny inside the walls of this maze.” [a note Jamie finds in a room in the maze]
While Jamie was facing his foes inside the maze, his family was facing trouble outside the maze. Darrell Gene, the puppet willing to do anything to gain approval and acceptance, was threatening them, first by leaving incriminating pictures and notes in their mailbox. While Jamie was inside the maze, Darrell holds the family in their home at knife point. Those inside the maze with Jamie made him aware that how he performed his tasks inside would affect his family outside. How would Jamie get out of the maze and save his family?
If you like suspense, thrillers, and a touch of the bizarre, I would recommend this book to you.
A complimentary review copy was provided to me by the author and Christian Ebooks Today. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.