Author: Rich Marcello
Published: January 2020 by Moonshine Cove Publishing
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Spiritual, Mystical, Book Review
Maggie and Charlie Latecomer, at the beginning of the last third of their lives, love each other but are conflicted over what it means to age well in a youth-oriented society. Forced into early retirement and with grown children in distant cities, they’ve settled into a curbed routine, leaving Charlie restless and longing for more
When the Latecomers and their friends discover a mystical book of indecipherable logographs, the corporeal world and preternatural world intertwine. They set off on a restorative journey to uncover the secrets of the book that pits them against a potent corporate foe in a struggle for the hearts and minds of woman and men the world over.
For Charlie and Maggie Latecomer it’s a second marriage for both of them. Their respective adult children don’t live within easy reach but the Latecomers love each other dearly and keep busy in early retirement with their artistic projects. Yet Charlie is restless and feels there should be more to life, regardless of age, and decides he needs to go to their cabin in Nova Scotia alone in search of the meaning of his life. Maggie is left angry at Charlie’s seeming disregard and self absorption, wondering what went wrong, beginning to question her beliefs and their relationship.
I wish I could tell you what will happen next, but I can’t. With that said, I am hopeful that I’ll put this behind us once and for all. Even if we move forward as something other than husband and wife, I know I need you in my life.
During Charlie’s ever increasing time away both he and Maggie form new relationships, until eventually Charlie returns and their previous twosome expands to include new friends who become an important part of their lives.
From our two protagonists struggling to come to terms with ageing, life and love, the story takes on a completely different, mystical aspect as their group, or moai, follow a mysterious trail found in the pages of an ancient book, which leads to symbolism, revelations and character growth. It also brings in to play questionable ethics concerning pharmaceutical companies and the lengths people are willing to go to when greed and power are the goal.
The story is told from the perspectives of Charlie and Maggie, with the vivid, eloquent and evocative prose that characterised The Beauty of the Fall which I enjoyed immensely. The Latecomers didn’t have quite the same impact. I found it hard to connect with Charlie and Maggie. Charlie more so until towards the end when my feelings towards him changed. The fact the realistic and humanly flawed characters gave rise to strong feelings shows they are finely drawn, if not always likeable.
The metaphysical concept of the story was engaging, gave pause for thought and had many unexpected twists and experiences for the characters. It was never obvious which direction the story would take. It unfolds slowly with reflective musings and contemplations. Many relevant issues are raised throughout the narrative including love, loss, dementia, forgiveness, finding a purpose and redemption. I’m glad I read it. There’s no doubt Rich Marcello is a gifted storyteller.
I chose to read and review The Latecomers for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy kindly supplied by the author.
About the Author
Rich is the author of four novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, and The Beauty of the Fall, The Latecomers, and the poetry collection, The Long Body That Connects Us All. He also teaches creative writing at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.
Rich lives in Massachusetts with his family. He is currently working on his fifth and sixth novels, Cenotaphs and In the Seat of the Eddas.