I love authors with range, meaning that they are not one-note ponies telling the same story over and over. Victoria Lustbader is just that kind of an author. After reading APPROACHING THE SPEED OF LIGHT, I wrote her and said, “If you were a musician, I would see you playing different instruments so you were able to create your own orchestra. You do such great things with words and the scenarios that you create. And this is such a different direction for you from STONE CREEK, but once again you nailed everything about it --- characters, plot, theme, scene and pacing. I felt myself in each location; they were so well drawn, and I saw the characters.” In APPROACHING THE SPEED OF LIGHT, Victoria writes great damaged characters with redeeming moments to create a story that is edgy and compelling, with a heart --- a really nice combination. I started reading it on a Sunday afternoon and found myself unable to put it down until I had to sleep. Then I savored the conclusion. I recently learned that Victoria worked on this book for five years --- and it shows as it’s so polished!
In it, Jody seems like most young men finding their way in their 20s. He appears to have it all --- job, friends, women in his life. But there’s another side of Jody, and we learn that he’s been scarred physically and emotionally by his childhood. There’s a troika of women here, all of whom see only the best in Jody, but is it enough to keep him on the path to happiness --- and to help him discover the emotion that he lacks an understanding of, which is love? Sometimes as you watch a dark television show like AMC’s “The Killing,”there are moments when a smile is exchanged or a look is held or a joke of familiarity is imparted, and we see another side or depth to the characters. I felt the same way reading APPROACHING THE SPEED OF LIGHT, though it has even more moments of light. And joy.
I also like books in which the ending holds a surprise, which is like a special treat. And it is one that leaves you satisfied and saying “ahhhhh,” but not cheated by something pat. APPROACHING THE SPEED OF LIGHT has that. So do not read that last chapter first, any of you out there who do that! Let this story unfold, roll and evolve.