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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The Ledger by Steven Manchester

A lot of people write fictional based novels based on choices and most of those are good and kind. Very few novels take a reader down the walk of a different set of choices, one of a darker side of your menu of life's many options. Not everyone chooses well and when they don't their life spirals into a chaos of consequences void of mercy, forgiveness and redemption. I love that Steven Manchester, has decided once again to use his gift of literary brilliance to take readers into that very life behind the walls of a prison in his latest novel The Ledger, book two in the Menu Series. 

In the Ledger, the novel opens where we can some insight into the ways our lives are created by God as a nameless spirit is given a book in where they can choose from a list of Menu options and every choice that is made features an equally opposite conscience, a price to be paid for each of them. The reader is never told who that character is and we will be introduced to several in the novel. I didn't realize that until I got to the end. The characters are required to account for each line in their "Ledger" the choice they make during the life they will lead and when their life is over, they will meet once more with God to discuss their eternal life choices. Now is where the novel accelerates! 

I never really thought much about the lives behind the walls of a prison before, I just knew I never wanted to wind up there, so I make sure my life choices keep me from that. I never considered however the life of the corrections officers that work there. I always thought about things from the life of an inmate. I never considered things on the level that Steven writes about through the lives of fictional characters, both inmates and prisoners and it really horrifies you when you consider that this is a work of fiction, but that it is also based on truth. I was struggling to identify with any one of his characters because they were all so flawed in how they lived out their daily lives. I found myself questioning their decisions and wondered if I faced those same situations how I would handle it, would I have compromised anything I feel now. That's what makes an exceptional writer is when the lines between truth and fiction become blurred. It's easy to pick the character I despised the most, but it is the others that make it hard to choose. So many great lines to capture from the novel but I find I loved this one the most, "Some of the badges are definitely tarnished. Most officers are good but not all. There are those few who could have just as easily been assigned a con number instead of a page."

I love it when they can get you so immersed in their world that you can't put the book down, each page is turned with faster anticipation on what is going to happen next. Then again sometimes you don't want to turn the page to prevent yourself from dealing with another unimaginable raw and unfiltered horror between played out on the pages of a novel. At the conclusion of the novel, I had a new found appreciation for those that work there and that not all lives are spared both the good and the evil. I don't think I will look at a prison the same way again, which conveys just how powerful this novel is and articulates once more a great gift at writing. 

I had the pleasure of reviewing The Ledger by Steven Manchester at the request of the author for my honest review. If you have never read any of his novels, please just pick up any of them, because you will be introduced by his unique writing style that will transport you to whatever venue he has selected for his novel and you will arrive. This novel is another of his award winning books to grace my forever bookshelf. See I keep the ones I love to read again and again, because they have impacted me in ways I never thought possible. My only hope is that there will be a third book in this series and that once again I will find my life forever changed by simple letters on a page, another 5 stars Mr. Manchester, well done! 

If you would love to learn more about the novels of Steven Manchester, please visit his website here or you can find him on Facebook by clicking here

If you would like to read his first book in the series, The Menu, please click here.