“Life is to be lived, not controlled” – Ralph Ellison
Author Harry E. Gilleland’s new novel ‘A Man In Control’ tells the tale of Dave Wynthers, a control freak trying to come to terms with the numerous changes happening in his life. He is a professor of microbiology who suddenly finds his hands full of surprises and sudden changes that disrupt his every laid out plan for the future. These changes include and vary from new love interests to death of family members and to ones as extreme as dealing with terrorists with biological weapons and also tackling the law enforcement agencies. A Man In Control is a mystery thriller centered around the setting of a social drama.
The timing of the book’s release is without question bang on, whether intentional or not, it has come out at a time when the whole world is talking about the main theme discussed in the book. And a few important and contemporary social and political issues too have been added to make it a highly relevant story. The author has also used his own background in microbiology to good effect by conjuring up various scenarios and terms and blending it nicely with the fictional story being narrated.
A shocking first chapter actually sets the pace and mood for the rest of the book. Harry gets into the mind and psyche of his lead character quite brilliantly, he plays with the reader’s perception and connection to his lead character by constantly pulling the strings from the background and gets the reader to love and hate Dave in the same book. The mature handling of relationships, even if they were flawed to begin with of both Dave’s and Heather’s and then Dave’s and Lorrie’s is another highlight. The author then goes on to extrapolate these relationships against the relationship of Lorrie and Caleb, as if to portray how an ideal relationship is supposed to be.
The book has a host of highly interesting characters but none who can match up to the uniqueness of the protagonist. Dave’s calculative and measured mind of a scientist is never switched off, whether he is talking to the authorities or even when he is making love to his girlfriend. But ultimately it is Dave’s insistence on domesticating his powerful and independent women partners that leads to his downfall. Sometimes Dave’s scenes with the police and FBI reminds you of the author’s previous book Zack’s Choice and the similar scenes in them but the content here is far more serious and Dave is no innocent, naive young character like Zack and therefore our attitude towards him too remains different. And it is quite a risk that the author has taken by creating a lead character like Dave, who isn’t easy to cheer for. But it is also a brave step in portraying a lead with grey shades rather than typecast him as either a bad guy or a goody two-shoes.
Anyone who has read Harry’s previous books will know that no matter what the theme or subject matter is, he writes in a casual and easy to read manner and this has been repeated in A Man in Control as well. It is an easy to read fiction with no hidden agenda and its only intention is to keep you entertained for the few odd hours you will spend on it.
Print Length: 192 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 150310091X