Title: The Mentor
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Date of Publication: June 14, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
When Kyle earns a prestigious position as an editor at a large New York publishing house, he’s surprised and delighted to hear from his favourite professor from his college days. Apparently, Professor William Lansing has been writing a novel these last ten years, and he asks if Kyle would consider publishing it. Kyle is thrilled to be the first to read this novel, but that excitement is short lived. It’s a thousand pages of horribly written depravity. Kyle tries to let his professor down gently, to tell him that the novel can’t be published, but his mentor won’t take no for an answer…
The Mentor starts off slow, but the writing was compelling enough to keep me engaged until the novel’s hook was revealed. There are quite a few hair-raising twists throughout this thriller. A couple were somewhat predictable, but there were enough surprises to keep me on my toes. The ending (no spoilers!) is downright chilling.
This book is quite a psychological thriller, as it becomes clear that Professor Lansing isn’t exactly the stereotypical concerned teacher. He has a dark side, which is gradually revealed as the story progresses. There are times when Kyle questions his own sanity, and the reader can’t help but do the same. That said, there are other horror elements, such as the “depravity” of the professor’s novel, which are revealed to the reader in snippets. These excerpts were never too extreme, but definitely not something you’d want to read with the lights off.
Unfortunately, the pacing of The Mentor was off at times, and there were points where there was too much description, and I just wanted the plot to plunge forward. This is the only reason why this book gets 4 stars instead of 5, because I feel like the writing could have been tightened up a bit.
Kyle makes for an interesting character. He’s suddenly found himself to be a successful editor at Carter & Burke, a publishing house, after discovering a new talent. He’s harboring a dark past, one that has shaped who he is today, and one that is slowly unveiled over the course of the novel. Flashbacks reveal his relationship with his mentor, William, ten years earlier, showing just how much he’d helped him during the darkest time of his life. Some of Kyle’s decisions are questionable–more so in the beginning of the book, when he didn’t have fear or paranoia driving his choices. Jamie, Kyle’s girlfriend, was a tad unreasonable. She was unwilling to listen to his fears, and it seemed like she trusted complete strangers over the man she wanted to commit to her. Other than this, their relationship seemed realistic, and it was an important part of the story.
There are numerous literary references throughout the book, which serves multiple purposes. It draws in themes and parallels to the classics, but it also serves to strengthen the authenticity of the characters. Kyle is an editor and William is an English professor, and these regular literary references are prevalent among the thoughts and conversations of writer-folk (or so I’ve heard ;))
The Mentor is written in an accessible writing style, one that doesn’t detract from the storyline. Although, as mentioned in the Plot section, the pacing was off a few times. Excerpts from the Devil’s Hopyard, William’s book, were written in an entirely different style, hinting at the author’s potential descent into madness.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a psychological horror novel, one with compelling relationships and an unpredictable plot.
*Thank you to Blackthorn Book Tours and the author for ebook for review*
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY. His new endeavor will be as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com.