Reflex Blue by Eric Linnell

Reflex Blue - Eric J. Linnell

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


I really enjoyed this book. The only reason it took me as long as it did to read it was because I started a new job, and so the last couple of weeks have been very hectic. But I did really like this.


This book is about a 29 year old named Josh who is struggling with an addiction to alcohol. He has some unresolved issues from his past that lead to him experiencing night terrors and even hallucinations during the day at times. The situation worsens when his uncle passes away leaving his house to Josh. This happens to be the house in which Josh grew up, so naturally living there exacerbates his personal problems. Throughout the course of the novel, he sees a girl with whom he becomes fascinated. But after an encounter with her, he and the reader are left wondering if she's even real.


This book had so much going on. It's all basically told from Josh's perspective. But between his alcoholism, dead-end job, friends, childhood bully, girl that he meets, his ex-girlfriend from high school contacting him, and visions relating to a traumatizing childhood event about which you don't get complete details until the end. There's a lot to take in. But all of these things combined keep this book moving at a very quick pace. The first chapter or two dragged just a little for me, but once I was through those it was all uphill.


Josh is not a perfect character, not even close. He makes several mistakes and does many stupid things throughout the book. I frequently wanted to strangle him. But he managed to be entirely relatable and an easy character to feel empathy toward. I felt for him and his struggle even as I thought he was a complete idiot at times. His character was so well written that the reader could simultaneously hate him and love him.


The format on this book was very interesting and original. The book is divided into four parts. Each of them a three month quarter corresponding to Josh's workplace. Then each quarter is divided into three chapters. Each chapter is a different month of the year. Furthermore, anyone familiar with recovery programs knows there are generally 12 steps involved. Each one of these steps is given directly before each chapter starts along with what I assume to be Josh's narrative voice commenting on each one. This was a really fascinating way to visually demonstrate the steps and also track Josh's personally progress throughout the book via the evolution of his narrative voice in these pages.


I think a line break before and after flashbacks would have been helpful. The transitions were very abrupt and it was confusing at times. There were also a couple of typos. But I read a lot of indie books so those don't really bother me so much unless they become distractingly excessive, which definitely was not the case here.


All in all, this was definitely worth the read. The character growth is profound and the overall story is a lovely, inspiring one.