The Fire On Memory Lane: Felix I.D. Dimaro
Reviewed By Steve Stred
BOOK CONTENT WARNING: Suicidal Thoughts • Child Death • Addiction
I can’t recall how long again ago Felix and I connected on Instagram, but I’ve always enjoyed seeing what he’s been getting up to and what he’s working on. I think, I think, I’ve read something from him before but I can’t for the life of me remember which and Goodreads tells me I haven’t. So, maybe it was a short story he posted online?
Either way, I snapped up this novella excited to dive in.
What I liked: Going in, I was aware that this was a truly sad and bleak story. Even that didn’t prepare me for what would occur.
The story follows Connor. His young son has died which results in him and his wife divorcing. His young daughter lives with his ex and no longer wants to be around him. To make matters worse – his ex has now remarried and they’re moving away, taking his daughter, and his son’s ashes with them.
His life has unravelled. He now drinks himself to a blackout each night.
Then, on one fateful night, his TV turns on by itself and an infomercial comes on. It asks Connor what he’d give to relive the good times again?
From here, Dimaro pushes Connor further down his spiral. Everything unwraps and reality distorts. I loved seeing Connor attempt to reconcile how much he used to smile versus how his life was now so sad and sorrow filled.
His brother, Kevin, was a great character, grounding the story even when Connor falls deeper into the grip of the eye drops he receives and transports himself to the good old days.
The ending is perfect and tragic and painfilled and really does a great job of closing Connors story and his heartbreak.
What I didn’t like: For a novella of roughly 100 pages, the first 30% or so felt very repetitive and didn’t move the needle on the story much, if at all.
As well, when Connor falls into the blue drops grip, his remembrance of happier times also felt as though we didn’t need to have as many moments.
Why you should buy this: Dimaro has crafted a truly bleak, heartbreaking story of a man at the very bottom and seeing no way out of the dark. It does a great job of connecting with the reader and the emotional depth within was amazing.
A tough read but a worthwhile experience.
The Fire On Memory Lane
What would you pay to relive the best days of your life?
Connor Michaels is a broken man. A broken man with a ruined family, a shattered future, and a past he can’t recover from.
Once upon a time he had been well respected, even loved. A former superstar college quarterback, a husband, a loving father, and a man admired by his community. That was before the day things went woefully wrong, and he became known as only one thing: the man responsible for the death of his own son.
Connor is at the end of his rope, and is considering staying there. Hanging there. Until he is offered a cure for his troubles. A cure for all trauma. A miracle medicine that will allow him to block out the bad memories and relive the good ones in real time.
At first it is salvation in a bottle… But the past can be a haunted place. Memories thought to be dead and buried have a way of reaching out of their graves.
And not every trip down Memory Lane is as blissful as it seems.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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