I recently had the pleasure of reading two of Jacob Appel’s novels, The Mask of Sanity, his most recent work, published March 31st 2017 and The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up, published September 1st 2014, and as indicated in the “about author” section of the book, his debut novel. While I realize calling an author “ordinarily engaging” may not be the average compliment, but compliment it certainly is. Both of these stories revolve around seemingly ordinary characters, characters that could be your neighbor down the street, with the awesome yard, or the doctor you regularly see for your annual check-ups, but the stories he weaves them into turned out to be anything BUT ordinary.
The Mask of Sanity
The story of a successful doctor, with an average life, whom stubbles upon his wife’s affair unbeknownst to her and releases his inner sociopath. The author asks the question whether everyone is born with good and bad inside of them, waiting for a triggering event to set off their “bad” side, this is certainly the case in this novel.
Rating: 3.8 Stars
This book was the thriller novel I didn’t even know I needed. Lately, I’d been reading a lot of deeply woven suspense books that keep you on your heels, twisting in and out of character perspectives as you untangle the mystery within…you’ve read many similar thrillers, right? Well, The Mask of Sanity was a refreshing read from your intricately woven thrillers. The character development is scary relatable, especially when it turns out the character is an immense sociopath. Dr. Jeremy Balint seems like your average doctor, but the internal narrative Jacob gives his characters uncovers disturbing, high functioning, immoral humans hiding in plain sight.
Jacob Appel keeps his writing “light,” engaging and detailed, but not distracting, while keeping the reader HOOKED. I especially loved how he ended his book, which you will have to read to find out!
The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up
The story of your everyday neighbor, the one with the awesome garden, you know them right? Well, imagine this neighbor goes to a Yankee’s game and doesn’t stand up for a patriotic song. Now inject this seemingly ordinary act with media frenzy and give it a Jacob Appel twist and you are in for an entertaining read.
Rating: 3.4 Stars
Despite this book having been published in 2014, it still remains incredibly relevant today, given the recent kneeling during the National Anthem and other media outrages. You can’t help but feel like this story could have happened to anyone. I enjoyed uncovering the MANY themes the author, Jacob Appel, intertwined within the book, including the pressure being in the spotlight can place on a person, a look at whether spouses should fully support your EVERY decision, how far the media will go and how inevitably we succumb to the labels placed on us. Whether these themes were intentional or not, it certainly caused me, as the reader, pause.
In keeping with the writing style witnessed in The Mask of Sanity, Jacob Appel provides an entertaining read with story lines you want to laugh at but subsequently cry at how plausible it could all be.