If you enjoyed I’ll Be Here All Week, the first novel from radio personality, comedian, and author Ward Anderson, I really can’t recommend his newest – All That’s Left – enough. Meet me after the jump for more.
Just as Ward Anderson nailed the life of a comedian in I’ll Be Here All Week, he does much the same with the death of a loved (or not so loved) one in All That’s Left. I know Anderson was a comedian and the storytelling and emotional connection felt real in the first novel because of it. I hope he hasn’t felt loss of this kind because this second novel has that same realness to it.
What All That’s Left also has in common with its predecessor is the deep narrative line. Steven Kelly here has the same cynical funny persona as the former novel’s protagonist, and it’s a good thing. I raved about Anderson’s mastery of voice before and it bleeds into this novel. I like the flow, I like the ongoing commentary, and it makes for a fun ride, no matter what happens. That’s where the similarities end however, Steven is a completely new character, but built in that same interesting Ward Anderson vibe. But it’s more than the narrative, and it’s more than the POV character, Anderson has a style, and I dig it.
In that way All That’s Left is more than you think it is as well. Maybe it’s the second novel of an author who has found his groove, and the story of a brother emerging from his brother’s shadow – it’s also a love story, a mystery with a modern noir vibe, and even a wonder filled travelogue of Singapore. The same way Anderson’s experience as a comedian extended to his first novel, I know he took a trip to Singapore in the recent past, and obviously from this book, it left quite an impact. As readers we get to enjoy it too, the good parts at least, apparently Singapore City is not all nice, but what city is complete without a bit of grit?
In All That’s Left, identical twin Steven learns of his brother’s demise and must go to Singapore to take care of business. He learns much about this estranged brother he thought he knew, and we are along for the almost detective mystery story ride. Steven goes to Singapore to bury his twin brother but nothing works out the way it should. Singapore City is full of his brother’s life, his brother’s secrets, and his brother’s girlfriend – who’s got her own secrets. Steven should have stayed out of all of it, it seems. Introspective, remorseful, and emotional, this is a unique and intimate vision of a man who is finally finding his place.
I really enjoyed this tale of redemption from an author who has become a favorite, as I look forward to what he has next. All That’s Left by Ward Anderson from Kensington Books is highly recommended. You can get your copy at Amazon in paperback or for Kindle. Check it out.