Authors Showcase: Unpaved Surfaces by Joseph Souza
March 11, 2015
The Book: Unpaved Surfaces
The Author: Joseph Souza
The Story: Enter into the life of an ideal family—Auggie is a happy nine-year-old boy whose father, Keith, loves him more than anything. Keith’s life seems ideal—until one day Auggie vanishes.
A year has passed since Keith’s son disappeared, and he’s haunted by glimpses of his son appearing in his small Maine town. With the investigation at a dead end and his family paralyzed with grief, Keith worries that he’s losing his mind.
In a thrilling twist, the case turns in a new direction—a direction that could either heal his family or tear them, and the rest of the town, apart.
About Joseph Souza:
Joseph Souza’s award-winning short stories have been published in various literary journals throughout the country. Winner of the Andre Dubus Award for short fiction, he also won Honorable Mention for the Al Blanchard Award in crime fiction.
His novel The Reawakening won the 2013 Maine Literary Award. He currently lives near Portland, Maine with his wife and kids. Visit josephsouza.net for more information about his novels or contact him at [email protected].
Review by Paul G. Corrigan Jr.:
Keith, the father of Auggie, the missing boy in Joseph Souza’s UNPAVED SURFACES, has fallen from grace in the culinary world. He now works as a short order cook in a greasy spoon diner. Early on in the book, he is trying to show his bosses’ clueless brother-in-law how to properly fry a burger.
Author Joseph Souza hooked me with the way he deftly handled this scene, juggling the trauma Keith and his family have undergone since seven year old Auggie’s disappearance a year before, with the tediousness of Keith’s dead end job, while sprinkling in whiffs of Keith’s back story as an innovative, nationally acclaimed chef. Souza knows the territory well and provides the reader with savory descriptions of Keith’s culinary creations in those long gone days.
Readers will love this underdog story of Keith and his family and the gritty way they struggle to stay together and love each other in the face of their tragedy. Lovers of first-rate suspense with a supernatural spin will appreciate the care with which Souza recreates Keith’s visions of his missing son. The supernatural elements here work because they connect powerfully to the human heart in crisis with all its needs and yearnings. I highly recommend UNPAVED SURFACES!
Review by Tim Queeney:
At the heart of Unpaved Surfaces lies a mysterious disappearance. A painful loss and an unanswered question that haunts a Maine family, its effects rippling through each of their lives in different ways. At times these waves threaten to scatter the family like driftwood before a storm. It’s Joe Souza’s ability to craft a family of individual characters, each so real with their idiosyncrasies and concerns, that makes these waves so disruptive and the character’s reactions so affecting.
The Battle family struggles with the disappearance in their midst, with reactions heartfelt, bewildered and nearly crippling. Yet, there is a spirit of resolve and hope as well. Through these twin resources the family moves forward and a new development promises to lead to answers and a possible resolution.
Souza’s depiction of this family struggling with mysteries corporal and spiritual is winning and captivating, with a cast of well-drawn characters that engages the reader and carries them along right to the end of this Maine coastal mystery.