When we first meet Christopher St. James he is a chronically depressed, intelligent, 39-year-old man who has no family and believes his only real friend is his heroic dog. He functions methodically day-to-day but he is socially and emotionally out of touch, particularly within his own generation. He prefers his romantic view of earlier eras.
A midlife crisis does not evolve from within him; instead, it is thrust upon him when he unexpectedly comes into great wealth and the psychological upheaval that goes with it.
His deceased benefactor, Angus “Scottie” Ferguson, had a shady, mysterious history. Ferguson leaves behind a video in which he implores St. James “to be my redeemer.” St. James is forced to face his own demons and cope and evolve with responsibilities, challenges and opportunities. His innate stoicism and his acquired cynicism and anomie face off with reality.
St. James learns that he does have friends if he is willing to reach out and place trust in them. Foremost among them is tall, athletically and intellectually-gifted, 27-year-old Maggie O’Connor whose own dreams were shattered in a car accident. Responsible and conservative by nature, her vibrant demeanor masks her emotional and physical scars while illuminating St. James’ gloomy life. St. James is drawn to her but fears that at best they could be scar-crossed friends, never lovers. He is too old a soul with too much baggage.
St. James begins to assert himself, sometimes whimsically, sometimes in a foreshadowing of his future. His journey is fraught with the unexpected: Ferguson’s life and legacy trigger two murders, a suicide, a violent assault, corruption and malfeasance.
Over the course of nine months, the drama moves from near Albany, New York where St. James lives, to his small hometown with which he has a love/hate relationship. A classic diner, a derelict 19th century “castle,” and Ferguson’s survivalist refuge add color and intrigue. Social commentary, nostalgia, and humor meander through the pages.
A literary tone and subtext are coupled with a smoldering romance, a “whodunit and why” and a “what will come next?”