More Deaths Than One reviewed by fran lewis


More Deaths Than One

Author: Pat Bertram

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

 

 

 

What would you do if you saw your mirror image right in front of you? What would you do if that person was living your life as you but it was not you or maybe it is? What would you do if you read an obituary in the paper and the death was your mother’s that happened 23 years ago? Enter the world of Robert Stark one man living in a state of suspense and whose world might resemble that of an episode of the Twilight Zone. Can someone die more than once and be buried more than once? Can someone take over your life while you are still living it with you name and appear to be you? Well, author Pat Bertram will take the reader on a journey you definitely won’t forget as I review a very unique, suspense filled novel titled “More Deaths Than One.”

 

Standing in a room whose walls, ceiling, floors and windows are mirrors allowing you to see yourself or reflection from various angles. Each mirror creating a different image of you depending on its angle, direction you are facing or distortion due to any enhancement created by the type of mirror. As you see yourself in these mirrors, one thought invades your mind: Which One Is Really Me?

 

Robert Sparks lives each day with reoccurring nightmares that haunt his days, nights and every waking hour. The cause: years in Vietnam, an accident that occurred while there and maybe more. But, Robert’s troubles are only beginning as he learns that his life, as he knows it is about to change. Identity take over is not uncommon. Hackers can get into your credit card information without too much trouble creating a whole new life for themselves using your name and information. Frightening to say the least. But, what if someone literally took over your life, identity both physical and without your knowledge. Imagine seeing yourself right in front of you but it’s not really you.

 

Spending many years overseas and returning to the states the last thing Robert Stark expects is to find his mirror image but not his looking back as his reflection. Could it be that you are watching your life, as you might have lived it right in front of you? Could it be that you just don’t remember how you got there and why your days and nights are haunted by horrific dreams, pain and severe headaches that are totally debilitating? Robert Stark lived in Southeast Asia for 18 years to return to his normal life. But, what he really returns to is an undercover, underhanded government investigation or is it? Plagued with debilitating headaches, nightmares, visions, and dreams that haunt his waking hour and reliving many of the experiences in his mind, Robert Sparks is no longer a free man.

 

Enter Kerry Castillas, a smart, alert and sassy waitress who works nights at the Rimrock Coffee Shop in Denver where our Bob Stark frequents at night. Plagued by nightmares he often finds himself in this shop to escape his dreams. Yes, she is smart and quite perceptive and together they team up to find out what and who is behind the obituary in the paper, who put it there, and who this other Robert Stark really is and what part does he play? Even more mindboggling is watching a replay of his mother’s funeral or burial service at Mountain View Cemetery while hiding in the bushes unseen.

 

Not being a passive man he seeks the answers he needs but his physical disabilities hamper him and medical attention is needed. But, the end result of his seeking this attention will frighten the reader even more. Searching for these answers he seeks out his brother, Jackson but decides not to enlist his help not knowing whether he is on his side or not. But, there is much more to this nightmare that must be solved before we find out just who this Robert Stark is and who the other man might be. Added to this Robert recounts to Kerry his time in Thailand, his affiliation with a man named Hsiang-li and his antique business selling stolen merchandise. What does this have to do with Robert being stalked by unknown men and how does his working for this man come to play with the fact he is now running for his life? That still remains to be seen.

 

 

As our main character begins to remember some of his past and relives event in his mind in the present, we learn the truth about his identity, the link to his past life in both Vietnam and Thailand and why he is being hunted for the past 16 years. His life in Vietnam was filled with brutality, danger and much more. Friends with investigative journalist would prove dangerous to him and learning about mind altering experiments on soldiers in the war and in the present helps enlighten the reader as to who might be after him and why. Although the reader is caught up in this make believe life of his, and who might be after him and why, the real clues and revelations are found in his profuse headaches, his unexplained reappearance back in Denver, his paintings and their true meanings, and the help and guidance of one Kerry who proves to be more than a love interest and friend. Elusive, nondescript in appearance, our Bob Stark is able to blend into the woodwork of almost any place he needs to explore and find information. Hiding in plain sight of those who want to capture, possibly torture or kill him he is anything but what they described as geeky or stupid. Quick on his feet, fast on the uptake our “Bob” will hopefully lead us and help find the answers he needs to puzzle of his life that seems to be disjointed.

 

Like the mirrors he sees his images in: Fragile glass that can shatter at any moment: Will Bob’s crack and become unrecognizable or will they all finally fit together showing him the image of the real person he is?

 

Author Pat Bertram has created a character so unique and different with traits that most authors cannot develop enveloping the reader in the story, the action, the inner most being of this man and his actions that you are transfixed on each word, page and event until the last page is read and the final words are spoken.

 

Who is Robert Sparks and what has become of the real him? What is behind the disappearance of several marketing consultants at Information Services Incorporated and what kind of research are they really doing? What mind altering drugs and techniques are being used to wipe a person’s thoughts, memories and feelings? Mind control, fear tactics, disappearances, research and experimenting with the minds of men in the infantry and war veterans are just part of the equation. Frightening, scary and definitely keeping the reader transfixed to the plot and asking one major question: Who is the real Robert Sparks? As the final revelations are recounted and the truth behind his life revealed there remains many unanswered questions that you will have to decide and learn for yourself. Would you want to have your memory erased in order to live a more peaceful life? Would you want the feeling of lost limbs eliminated at the cost of losing part of your memory? It started with one journalist: William Henry Harrison. It continued with one man who is so clever, so mild mannered, so ordinary that he blended into the world, the war zone and more in plain sight. One man whose memory was borrowed and given to another man and forced to live without any real connection to anyone needs to find a place for himself. As Robert and Kerry travel to many places, find out the unspeakable and learn the many unspoken truths, what happens will astound the reader; instill fear inside of everyone that this might really be happening. Author Pat Bertram takes us on an inside journey in the mind, soul, dreams and inner thoughts of one man who is tormented by his dreams, whose realities are haunted by headaches, pain and uncertainty, but whose faith in the future will not wane as he and Kerry find out if a someone can have More Deaths Than One. Well defined characters, events vividly created helping the reader picture what each character endured author Pat Bertram is definitely a first rate novelist, mystery writer right up there with Patricia Cornwall, Steve Berry and James Patterson.

As the old program To Tell The Truth would say after all the affidavits were read and the questions asked of the three imposters: Will the read Robert Stark stand up! Look at each reflection in those mirrors: Which One Belongs to Robert Stark?

 

This book was sent to me as a gift by the author of School of Lies, Mickey Hoffman. What a great book and what a wonderful gift.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

 

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