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A Generation Marked by Rebellion, Sacrifice, and the Pursuit of Identity - an Editorial Review of "A Tissue of Lies"

A Tissue of Lies book cover

Book Blurb:

Published with the assistance of Historium Press & White Rabbit Arts

The Eddie Kovacs origin story and the prequel to The Two Lives of Eddie Kovacs.

"With echoes of John Fante, A Tissue of Lies grips the reader in the slow unraveling of an unhappy family's conflicted loves and squandered hopes. Fifteen-year-old Eddie Kovacs is an endearing and unlikely anti-hero, flailing against an angry father's contempt while fighting for his own and his brother's futures. A captivating coming-of-age tale equal parts harrowing and fearless." The BookLife Prize

"An engrossing story of a kid deciphering the fine line between right and wrong. Eddie is a complex anti-hero: not as holy as he thinks, but capable of deep feeling, rendered in lyrical prose. Readers will root for his crooked search for a compromised goodness." Kirkus Indie Reviews

"A Tissue of Lies is a compelling work with a fantastic narrative power and style ... The book is a poignant coming-of-age tale that captures the essence of a generation marked by rebellion, sacrifice, and the pursuit of identity ... Nemeth's storytelling prowess brings a period in history to life through a rich tapestry of characters and events, leaving a lasting impact on the reader ..."

K. C. Finn for Reader's Favorites

At a time when political leaders were brazenly assassinated, inalienable civil rights had to be guaranteed by legislation, race riots disfigured the American landscape, and a controversial war shaped social consciousness, the blue collar Kovacs family struggled to achieve the American Dream. In 1966, fifteen-year-old Eddie, the neglected middle child, harbored a dream that strained the family's limited resources and sparked a contentious relationship with Dad. Danny, the eldest son, dreamt of becoming a professional baseball player, a dream Dad vowed to make come true at any cost. Mom wanted to escape her hand-to-mouth existence and was not above deceit to achieve her goal. When Danny received his draft notice, everyone's dreams were imperiled. During that fateful summer, Eddie, with the help of his rebellious friend, Marcy, discovered Danny's explosive secret, unraveled Mom's buried lies, and uncovered Dad's underhanded tactics to rescue Danny's career. In a vain attempt to win Dad's approval, Eddie contrived a risky scheme to evade the draft and restore his brother's dream. Eddie had no idea how his ploy would change his and his family's lives forever.

A Tissue of Lies is the coming-of-age story that defines the Baby Boomer generation. To learn what happened to Eddie, read the sequel, The Two Lives of Eddie Kovacs.

Author Bio:

Mike Nemeth author photo

Mike Nemeth is a retired IT executive living in suburban Atlanta with his wife, Angie, and their rescue dogs, Sophie and Scout. The novels Defiled (Amazon bestseller) and The Undiscovered Country (winner of the Beverly Hills Book Award for Southern Fiction) are prescriptions for America's social ills disguised as crime fiction thrillers. Mike is also sports fan and has written nonfiction books about college basketball and college football. Previously Mike wrote The Missing Ingredient, an article published in the New York Times which explained why college football rankings are always wrong.

Editorial Review:

How do I look?” Mom spun around in the kitchen like a runway model. Tall and shapely, with dishwater blonde hair in a bouffant style, she wore a navy dress with large white buttons down the front, matching heels, and a coquettish smile.

“ Carla, my baby sister, jumped out of her chair and squealed with delight. Her blue eyes lit up as she lunged toward Mom with her gangly arms outstretched for a hug.

Mom held her away with both hands. “Don’t crush me. Just tell me how I look.”

Abashed, Carla stopped. “You’re pretty, Mama.” She sat back at the table where we’d been playing Fish because Carla had to be entertained twenty-four by seven.

“Eddie?” Mom cocked her head waiting for my assessment.

“Stunning, Mom. Dazzling. Absolutely ravishing.”

Our story begins in 1966 and introduces us to a family not unlike many others at the time. Nemeth captures the reader's interest right away, establishing the mood for a novel full of conflict and emotional upheaval. With promises of dark secrets and family drama, the opening paragraphs successfully draw the reader in and present a realistic picture of the Kovacs family's hardships.

A Tissue of Lies by Mike Nemeth stands out as an in-depth examination of puberty against the stormy backdrop of the 1960s. This book examines the difficulties of growing up, the harsh realities of social change, and the nuances of familial love. The connection between the characters is one of the strong points within the story.

It also serves as a precursor to The Two Lives of Eddie Kovacs and his genesis tale. Nemeth's storyline is both captivating and heartbreaking, and it is based in a carefully chosen locale and age. Through the eyes of our main character, we are able to experience a different time and place.

The focus of A Tissue of Lies is an engrossing narrative that transports the reader to the world of fifteen-year-old Eddie Kovacs. Eddie experiences a tumultuous time in American history that is characterized by political assassinations, the Vietnam War, and civil rights movements, all of which are mirrored in the unrest within his own family. We see the world through his eyes for much of the story.

Like a salmon swimming upstream, I wound my way up the broad center aisle, against the flow of modestly dressed neighbors who had done their Sunday duty. I marveled at the beauty of our stained-glass windows, the stations of the cross down the outside aisles, the handcarved wooden doors on the confessionals, and the twenty-foot-tall sculpture of Christ on a cross above our altar. I felt at home in my church.

I took the steps up to the sacristy where the priests and altar boys dressed in their vestments. The two altar boys from the previous Mass smiled as they scurried out the side door. Monsignor Muller, a grumpy old man, and the senior pastor for our parish, was disrobing. Good, I thought, I won’t have to deal with that curmudgeon. A sixth grader named Kenny filled wine cruets. He would be my assistant altar boy.

“After you take those cruets out to the sanctuary, you can light the altar candles,” I told Kenny. He nodded and went about his business.

The narrative deftly balances societal obligation with individual ambition, examining how outside influences mold the goals and choices of its characters. Eddie makes incredibly touching and understandable endeavors to overcome these obstacles to maintain his brother's future and win his father's approval.

It was a page-turner, keeping you wondering what would happen next, but rooting for Eddie all along the way. Layout and editing of the book is well done, making it easy to follow. The book reads smoothly because it has been professionally edited and formatted. The transitions between dialogue and narration are evident in the seamless flow of the paragraphs.

Because of the careful editing, you can fully immerse yourself in the narrative and enjoy Nemeth's rich use of language and vivid descriptions without interruption.

Nemeth is a master at developing characters, especially with his flawed but likable protagonist Eddie. Eddie's internal struggles and development are shown in a complex and nuanced way. The story's primary tenet is the family dynamic, as evidenced by the equally fascinating development of other characters, such as his brother Danny and their mother. The ambitions and anxieties of every character are allowed room to develop, giving their relationships and personal decisions more depth.

The story keeps a strong feeling of flow, with each choice and incident logically building upon the one before it. Because of its coherence, the reader is guaranteed to be engrossed in the drama as it develops and excitedly anticipate each character's next move. The plot's structure allows for a steady build-up of tension that leads to a moving, significant resolution.

A Tissue of Lies ends in a way that is both rewarding and thought-provoking, leaving readers to consider Eddie's life's irreparable changes as well as the larger social challenges of the day. The closure provided by the novel's ending, while not very joyful, is appropriate for the tale Nemeth set out to tell and connects the whole work emotionally and conceptually.

The book is unique in that it skillfully combines historical and personal narratives. A unique perspective that is both informative and extremely humanizing is provided by Nemeth's integration of the defining social issues of the 1960s via the prism of a single family, a theme explored in many books that center upon coming-of-age.

I must’ve nodded off because the next thing I heard was Mom and Dad hissing at each other in the kitchen like a cobra and a mongoose. They probably thought I was upstairs because they didn’t temper their insults.

“No one would talk to me because you’re drunk,” Dad said.

“I’m sober as the Pope. You’re too obvious about wanting their votes. You’re like a little kid begging for candy.”

“I couldn’t beg because you were always in the way.”

“The men like me because I have a personality, Frank, and you don’t.”

“I do great things for those men. They think you’re a loose woman.”

“They think you’re a buffoon, and so do I. You can sleep on the couch tonight.”

Uh oh. I scrambled to my feet and quietly hurried up the stairs.

Nemeth writes in an understandable and vivid style, making it easy to see every little thing in your mind as you read along. His writing style is lyrical, which fits the thoughtful and emotional tone of the book. The dialogue is clear and suitable for the time, encapsulating its essence without appearing antiquated. The social scene of the 1960s is vividly painted by succinct yet thorough descriptions, which do not overshadow the protagonists' inner tragedies.

It has a clearly defined and skillfully carried out story arc. Every chapter develops on the one before it, with increasing action that culminates in a dramatic sequence of events that represent historical and personal crises. In addition to tying up loose ends, the resolution establishes the framework for the next chapter and entices readers to join Eddie in his adventure.

In summary, Mike Nemeth's A Tissue of Lies is a brilliant work that skillfully combines historical story with human development; it is an engaging read that teaches as well as it entertains. Seeing the turbulent period of American history through the eyes of a young man coming to grips with his own identity and responsibilities, it is a vivid and riveting representation.


"A Tissue of Lies" by Mike Nemeth receives 4.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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