5 Star Review
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Editorial Book Review:
"Third Wheel" by Richard R. Becker takes readers on a captivating journey through the intricate tapestry of 1982 Las Vegas. In this city of paradoxes, Brady Wilks, a young transplant from the Midwest, finds himself navigating a reality that's as intriguing as it is contradictory. Set against the backdrop of a 24-hour town constructed by the Mob, where glamour and grit exist side by side, Brady's life unfolds in the dusty suburban outskirts.
Within this world, Brady faces a twofold challenge. He grapples with being an outsider in his blended family, a situation that often leaves him isolated and struggling to find his place. Simultaneously, he's a newcomer in the neighborhood, an unfamiliar face in a community where fitting in seems like an uphill battle.
Amid the complexities of his existence, Brady's life takes a turn when he unexpectedly forges a connection with Mick, an older teenage neighbor, and Brett, Mick's friend. Their camaraderie becomes a lifeline, a source of comfort and belonging that Brady desperately craves. Yet, as life is wont to do, change knocks on their door. Brett's sudden departure reshapes their dynamics, prompting Mick to introduce a new member into their tight-knit group.
This introduction serves as a pivotal point in the story. The group's dynamics shift, leading them into uncharted territories. As they traverse the landscape of cartel-influenced drugs and opportunities that seem too good to pass up, their once-familiar world transforms into something entirely different. The novel masterfully captures the essence of these changes, painting a vivid picture of Brady's journey from innocence to experience, from childhood to adulthood.
At its core, "Third Wheel" is a powerful exploration of multifaceted themes. It delves into the intricate complexities of belonging and betrayal, shedding light on the challenges of breaking away from paths laid out by others. Brady's journey becomes a metaphor for the universal quest to define oneself, even in the absence of role models, and the courage it takes to embrace an uncertain future.
In the midst of the desolate and gritty backdrop, a triumphant tale unfolds. Brady Wilks emerges as a remarkably transformative protagonist, his growth and evolution serving as a poignant reminder of the resilience of the human spirit. Through Becker's skilled narration, the city of Las Vegas itself becomes a character, intricately woven into the fabric of the story.
Richard R. Becker, a four-time award-winning author, once again showcases his unique insight into the human condition. "Third Wheel" isn't merely a novel; it's a compelling narrative that grips readers from the first page and doesn't let go. With its carefully crafted characters, vivid settings, and exploration of life's intricate nuances, this book is a testament to the power of storytelling and its ability to illuminate the human experience.
For fans of coming-of-age stories, this is a must-read. Very highly recommended and a well-deserved five stars from me.
About the Author
Richard R. Becker is an award-winning American author. His debut collection of literary fiction and psychological thrillers began as a project to write one story a week for 50 weeks. It broke the top 100 literary short stories on Amazon for three consecutive months in 2022 and several times throughout the year. It won first place in the Spring 2022 BookFest Awards, 2023 Book Excellence Awards, and ABR Book Excellence Awards. It was also named a finalist in the IAN Book of the Year Awards.
His debut coming-of-age thriller, Third Wheel, was released in August 2023 to positive reviews. It was named a finalist in the Global Book Awards.
As a journalist, Richard has written hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, with his byline appearing in the Denver Post, Los Angeles Times, and publications for Simon & Schuster and Paramount Communications. He also scripted a documentary produced with PBS and contributed to five books related to marketing, public relations, and management.
He currently serves as president of Copywrite, Ink. and, for 20 years, previously taught at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition, Richard currently serves as a city council-appointed volunteer commissioner on the Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission. He has assisted more than 60 nonprofit and professional organizations as a consultant and board member during his career and has been featured as a speaker for a variety of organizations, including Wizard World Comic Con, G2E World Gaming Expo, National Recreation and Park Association, Regis University, and U.S. Small Business Administration.
Aside from writing, Richard has a broad range of interests, including travel, hiking, parks, fitness, illustration, photography, and spending time with family. He is married and has two children.