Sunday, November 10, 2013

Haze by Michael Chavez

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Regal Crest
Pages: 203

When Andrew, a timid and obese college student, falls for Nat, the two find a happiness Andrew had never dreamed possible. But when a joy like Andrew’s becomes too profound, too perfect, the gods become jealous, and rain down misfortune. First tragedy strikes the couple, tearing them apart. Then Andrew’s best friend, Ilario, is the victim of a hazing attack, and commits suicide. Andrew tries and fails to wreak revenge on Efron, the ringleader of Ilario’s hazing.

Years later, Andrew crosses paths with Efron, now a cocky lawyer who cheats on his wife with men, over a shady business deal. The two men become both lovers and adversaries, and Andrew attempts to vindicate the guiltless prey that Efron seeks to destroy.

Michael Chavez has created an intricate plot (albeit highly implausible) and a distinctive cast of characters. It is first and foremost a story about whether integrity can withstand the assault that modern society presents us with, both in our personal lives and in big business. It is a study in how far the human spirit can bend without breaking.

Much of the story centers on working in the construction industry and also in the courtroom when a business dispute is taken before the law. I was impressed with the depth of knowledge the author demonstrates in both the construction business and law field.

At times the story is gripping, other times it plods along at an even pace. There are several plot twists that make it difficult to suspend belief, but all in all the story is interesting and well told. My only minor complaint was that it was wrapped up a little too neatly for my tastes.

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