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Librarian's Note: this is an alternate cover edition - ASIN: B00QXVM6B6A JOURNEY FROM DESPAIR TO HOPEWhen a fourth homeless man is murdered by the Hacker, Gifford Ulrich leaves downtown St. Louis carrying his belongings on his back and wanders into the Benoit Neighborhood searching for shelter and safety. He finds abandoned buildings and abandoned people; drunks, drug addiLibrarian's Note: this is an alternate cover edition - ASIN: B00QXVM6B6A JOURNEY FROM DESPAIR TO HOPEWhen a fourth homeless man is murdered by the Hacker, Gifford Ulrich leaves downtown St. Louis carrying his belongings on his back and wanders into the Benoit Neighborhood searching for shelter and safety. He finds abandoned buildings and abandoned people; drunks, drug addicts, gamblers; the outcasts; the unusual, the unbalanced, and the unlucky. His job cleaning bricks leads him to discover hidden forces at work in Benoit that throw him in the middle of danger and death. To fight his way off the streets, Giff must rely on his military training, his knife, and an anger born of loss. The only way to survive the passage from tragedy to triumph is to kill or be killed.BOOK 1 IN THE GIFFORD ULRICH SERIESTHE JOURNEY BEGINS:Gifford Ulrich didn’t know the distance from despair to hope, but he knew hope didn’t sleep in alleys. On this morning his first waking moments were filled with the audible lamenting breath of having survived another winter night on the streets of St. Louis, those onerous recurring sighs that had become his respiration. Endurance was not an uplifting miracle to him, but a depressing fact. Not the surprise, “Hallelujah, I’m alive,” but the admission, “Oh, I’m still here.”...

Title : Monarchs and Mendicants (Gifford Ulrich, #1)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 25630039
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 283 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Monarchs and Mendicants (Gifford Ulrich, #1) Reviews

  • Valerie Caraotta
    2018-07-17 08:15

    Enter a book where reality strikes that life does not always turn out the way we would have expected. Homeless Gifford Ulrich, lead character, will exemplify lost dreams, lost hope, and an aloof mannerism until 3 other people-Stephen, Johnny, and Edward find their place in the theatre - literally and figuratively "on stage". Gifford, a former college educated Navy Seal knows all too well the pangs of death and chooses to survive by himself with murdered friend Raphael's dog Tobias. The phrase "A dog is a man's best friend" will initially fit him but Stephen and Father Michael will penetrate these hard walls and he will "leave the womb" somewhat taking a leadership role amongst the homeless.Movay's business of transporting cleaned bricks will turn to negotiations over homeless wages with Gifford requesting a 5 cent raise for the group. In undercurrent schemes those that speak up the loudest for already unfair wages will be on the hit list with "The Hacker", killing already four. As you discover who " The Hacker" is you will also discover the illegal set-up Movey and his company are running.Talented author Dan Groat has a unique way of making the reader feel they are right square in St. Louis-homeless wandering as they go about their business of taking meager cash and exchanging it for food and other necessities. With intensity, your mood will fit the situations Groat presents and with surety it will be a novel you will long remember. This page-turning intense drama will keep you questioning and wondering until the very end.Though fictional, it's a novel that reveals man is redeemable and that it is not how you start out that matters but how you finish. It is strong beliefs in equality of opportunity coupled with diversity, loyalty, and hard work that shape Groat's writing along with understanding the world and the human condition. He is intense in fulfilling his aim and for the quality of this work I give it a 5-star rating.

  • John Manhold
    2018-08-05 12:26

    Monarchs and Mendicants, Book 1, ISBN: 9781492736004, an e-book by Dan Groat is basically a thriller but interestingly on a somewhat more cerebral plane with stimulating thoughts covering many subjects on many levels.The story opens with Gilford Ulrich having survived another night on the streets of St. Louis. We gradually discover that he is a former Afghanistan surviving Navy Seal with PTSD and a depressing life history including numerous deaths of important individuals in his life. As a result his life is directed to taking care only of himself and his little dog which he inherits from another ‘street person’ who has been killed by an unknown killer of the homeless. Also homeless, but proudly declaring himself as ‘not a bum’ and willing to work at anything that will provide compensation, he finds a job cleaning reclaimed bricks. He becomes involved with other derelicts with two, Stephen and Edward and the invalid priest who runs the local missionary especially causing him to evolve gradually into a leader who cares for and helps unfortunates as well as the community as a whole. These latter actions requiring all of his formerly developed physical skills to provide enough action, mystery and suspense along with an action packed conclusion that readers of the genre will find most satisfying. But further, this is a heartwarming story in a ‘different’ setting with an unusual plot that deals understandingly with a group of individuals in dire straits as a result of bad choices, bad luck and/or simply the vicissitudes of life. A most interesting and enjoyable read.5* A somewhat cerebral oriented thriller providing a steadily advancing story of redemption but plenty of action for devotees.

  • Deborah Bean
    2018-07-19 11:06

    I’m not going to lie, when I first started reading Monarchs and Mendicants, I thought the book was going to be boring. However, the more I read, the more I was into the story. The town was so described so thoroughly, that you could picture it in your head as the characters walked down the street. Dan Groat has a way of relating a story that makes the characters seem real.My favorite characters were actually Edward and Johnny. They were best friends but so different that they actually complimented each other. Gifford was unique in that while he did not want to be friends with anything or anyone, he started losing that battle when he ran into Tobias. My favorite thing about this book is that it shows the different personalities of the homeless community and their willingness to help each other out. Most people just look right through them, but they are usually the ones willing to work the hardest to make money to survive. I give this book 5***** stars and I cannot wait to read the next installment to see what happens with Gifford next.

  • Sara Depirro
    2018-07-19 14:10

    "Until you start noticing that you're not alone in the world, you're just surviving, my brother."3.5 stars. Groat's writing style pulled me in from the beginning. Monarchs and Mendicants was a tale about the pain, suffering, hopelessness, and loneliness of life on the streets. Gifford Ulrich, a retired Navy seal suffering from PTSD, is the main character eking out an existence as a homeless man in Saint Louis. The character descriptions throughout the book were strong and allowed the reader to sympathize and understand the weight of suffering that many of the characters carry. This book was unlike other thrillers that I have read in the past. It was a mix of fast-paced mystery and quiet, thought-provoking reflection. Realizing that you can overcome the pain and suffering in your past and still move on to achieve great things was a central idea throughout the book. I look forward to reading the sequel.

  • billy
    2018-07-23 12:34

    Superb storyI thought that this was an excellent book. Having spent some time on the street after my time in the Navy I could relate to most of the characters. The story moved along nicely and was well written.

  • Amanda
    2018-08-14 14:05

    In Monarchs and Mendicants, Dan Groat brings to life a thriller with heart and grit. Set against the dreary backdrop of street life and homelessness, we find ourselves torn in our disdain for the killer of these vulnerable people and shame in the fact that our main character, Gilford, is among the untold number of homeless veterans in this country. The way the struggles of those living on the streets are highlighted succeeds in pounding home the desperation and unrelenting pressure a life like that brings with it. That these people, the downtrodden and discarded of society, are the ones targeted by The Homeless Hacker is only slightly more infuriating than the fact that no one but other homeless seem to care. I couldn't tell you what specifically it is about Groat's writing that creates such a vivid image of the world of the story. It's more than just descriptive writing, of that I am sure. His characters and their worries become your friends and your own worries, their pain your pain, their fear your fear. Masterful. Monarchs and Mendicants weaves mystery, drama, and thrills with a story of one man working alongside others like him to lift himself and them out of their respective holes of life while they work to better their community with positivity.

  • Rachel Kester
    2018-07-17 06:19

    This novel by Dan Groat tells the story of Gifford Ulrich, a Navy Seal who has just arrived home to St. Louis after serving in Afghanistan. Ulrich suffers from PTSD and travels back to St. Louis only to find himself homeless. He eventually meets some other people in similar situations and comes to help them through their trials and to escape from a murderer.The opening of the novel is immediately intriguing. Groat instantly catches the reader’s attention with it and it helps to give the reader a good idea of what the novel will be about. The characters and plot of this novel are also well-developed which makes for a great read that you won’t be able to put down. It’s about 283 pages but you’ll fly through them as you read this book. This novel is ideal for anyone looking for an interesting and unique story to read.

  • Shanell Meek
    2018-07-29 14:05

    Great read with a couple unexpected twistsThis is my first time reading anything from Dan Groat, and I have to admit I’m thoroughly impressed and will be looking for more from him in the future. In Monarchs and Mendicants, Gifford is the star of the show. Gifford is an ex navy seal turned hard working homeless man. Gifford takes care of his dog and he works hard when work presents itself. When someone starts muddying the local homeless and suddenly Gifford is thrown back into a battle of kill or be killed. While it’s not a true story, This story shed a lot of light on what the homeless really go through. It was thought provoking and kept me entertained. I had to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen.

  • Carol
    2018-07-25 06:11

    The main character Gifford is a war Veteran who finds himself suffering from PTSD and homeless. Understandably at first he is bitter about his situation but starts befriending the other homeless in the alley where he “lives” but someone is murdering the homeless off and one was Gifford’s friend. Now he must work to protect his new friends and try and stop this mad man or woman. Not only are these people being killed off but they are also a victim to the local mob boss to get drugs and try to survive. You ask yourself how he can give them hope when he felt like he didn’t have any hope either and it’s a really touching book while also adding mystery and drama. I do love a good mystery and quite enjoyed Monarchs and Mendicants.

  • M.M. Strawberry Reviews
    2018-08-01 08:29

    Dan Groat has always impressed me with the originality of his work, and this is no exception. When I got the book, I was wondering why there was a picture of bricks in the back. Bricks turned out to be very important to the story, and the author opened up a world I had not imagined. I mean, sure, I've seen homeless people before and etc, but I had no idea that they were hired to clean bricks, or even that there was such a job, menial as it was, of cleaning bricks.He also puts in details that make it more clear how a homeless person lives - the safety considerations, the ways they obtain food and/or water, etc. The story unfolds to a coherent and satisfying climax, leaving me eager for the upcoming second book of this series.

  • Jimmy Jefferson
    2018-08-04 09:17

    War vet turned homeless forced to protect his chosen friendsDan Groat does a good job of telling an intriguing and action packed story about a homeless man named Gifford. This man is homeless now but is also a veteran with the desire to be left alone. When a serial killer starts stalking his friends, he must revert back to the life of a warrior to protect them and himself from certain death. Great character development and a good page turning story that drags you in and keeps you wanting more. Very enjoyable read. I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good action adventure.

  • Shirley
    2018-08-04 10:23

    This book is awesome! Great story line and characters well developed. I would recommend this book without hesitation to those that enjoy a good mystery with an Excellent author.

  • Marc Stern
    2018-08-13 13:11

    In Monarchs and Mendicants, Dan Groat Has Another WinnerDan Groat is an exceptional author. His latest novel, Monarchs and Mendicants, easily shows why. On the first page, for example, not only does he introduce the central character, Gifford Ulrich, but he also sets the stage and tone of the work, all with understated elegance.Of course, it is an author’s job to set our expectations for a novel in the first pages. However, there are many authors out there who take five, 10 or more pages just to get to the heart of the novel. Groat uses only one. At the same time, he sets the scene and points to the ultimate storyline.Groat is a hugely talented author. As an artist uses various hues and techniques to enhance an image, so does Groat use words to create a finely nuanced, multi-layered work. He draws us into the novel and introduces us to a flawed individual, who is, ultimately, the very reluctant hero. It is not a role that Gifford Ulrich even wants. He will gladly let anyone else take it. Life, however, just won’t leave him alone. Ulrich constantly fights the role that life is placing upon him and he consistently loses. Ultimately, the reluctant hero surrenders and becomes the person he is destined to be. Groat carefully sculpts this ultimate change through the continuing interplay of Ulrich and Stephen, who is, in many ways, Gifford’s conscience. Stephen is another denizen of Benoit neighborhood of St. Louis, where they all hang their collective hat. He is also the person who brings back Gifford’s humanity; his ability to care. Gifford turned inward after a series of life’s harsh waves rolled over him. He lost his partner Kate, the woman he was destined to marry, to a drunk driver. He lost his Navy buddies to an ambush in Afghanistan as part of a Seal team operation. These major hurts have conspired to change Gifford into a bitter man who is only looking out for number one. Is it a selfish way of viewing the world or is it realistic? After all, what else can he do when the world has turned against him? And, life’s hits just keep on coming. It seems that as soon as he befriends and starts to care about someone, bad things happen. Raphael, the original owner of Gifford’s companion Tobias, a terrier, was hacked up by a supposed serial killer, the Hacker. Raphael was Gifford’s mentor on the streets. Gifford found himself there after the pickup truck that became his home after he lost his apartment was seized by the city. Then, Johnny was taken by the same villain. And, finally a harmless gentleman who cared for Tobias while Gifford worked cleaning bricks daily, became another victim. How much could one man take?Frustrated, he tries to answer in the only way he knows, by individual action. He wants to lash out at his assailants, though he only has the faintest idea of whom they are and of what they are doing. He is deterred and his efforts are constantly channeled in a positive direction by Stephen.In many ways, the picture Groat has painted is a modern morality play with much more. It has features of the classic morality play – good versus evil; dark versus light; Gifford versus Movay – as well as the features of a redemption story because in working to correct the wrongs he has encountered he is setting his whole universe right. That is the storyline that Groat has created. That storyline acts like North on a compass as it keeps Monarchs and Mendicants on track, moving ahead to a very satisfying resolution. Groat is an author’s author who, now that he has a body of work, is showing that he has the chops to succeed. It seems like only a matter of time before a best-seller will be his, as well.

  • Jeremy Reppy
    2018-07-24 13:28

    This was one of the more interesting and unique books I have read in quite a while. Definitely worth 4+ stars. The book focuses on the Benoit neighborhood in St. Louis, a rundown area sparsely populated, mostly by the homeless (the mendicants (beggars)) and controlled by Mr. Movay (the monarch) and his thugs. Gifford Ulrich is a solitary sole who looks out for himself and no-one else. However, when the guy who taught him how to survive on the streets is killed by a serial killer preying on the homeless, Gifford adopts his dog, Tobias, and relocates to the Benoit neighborhood. Although he does not want to worry about or care about anyone else, he finds himself grudgingly accepting the presence of some of his fellow homeless, in particular, Edward, the lover of theatre and Shakespeare, Johnny, the stutterer, and Stephen, the philosopher. Over time, he finds himself taking on more of a leadership role and protector role, as advancing his own interests and goals becomes more entwined with the lives of his fellow "residents"/friends and involves confronting the evil that is Movay and his thugs. In the end, he becomes a king of sorts for the homeless population, but a protective and benevolent leader.Part of what makes this book so interesting is that so many of the characters are homeless; not something I have ever seen or read in any other book. Instead of objects of pity or disgust, the author humanizes the homeless characters, giving them individual identities and making you want to care about them. Some of the homeless are in that situation due to bad luck, misfortune, or mental illness, but others are there due to poor choices (drugs/alcohol, gambling, etc.) and the author makes no attempt to sugar-coat their flaws. The author also uses several of the characters to delve into thoughts about what our purpose is on earth, the need for community, the need to find others in whom to trust. and other concepts related to social interaction and self-definition in modern society.I received a copy of the eBook from Reading Alley in exchange for a review.

  • Chanda Curry
    2018-07-30 09:14

    Monarchs and MendicantsThis story was almost a tragedy in the making, alas thats what Edward would say.A tragedy of loss and then a victory of finding yourself..I must say I loved Edward..As a sufferer of PTSD my self, non military, I knew right away what Mr. Gifford was suffering from.I got it. He was an extrovert.He wanted to be left alone. He had lost so much. remember the story of King Midas, everything he touched turned to gold,even his daughter? Kinda like Gif felt, everything he loved turned to crap.i been there. Just leave me alone please, let me live my life away from feelings. Lived by the military motto, Don't ask, Don't tell..Then Tobias shows up. his poor human has been hacked by the serial killer the hacker, took me awhile but I figured who it was after Johnny..Then enter Sir Edward,with his sidekick Johnny..Then here come the brickers..I remember back home in TX we had a bridge, were every morning you could go down in your truck and find people men and women willing to work for 50.00 a day and a hot meal..I remember how hard they worked..I lived among them, they were everywhere,many sadly were like Gifford, ex military, suffering with PTSD,or addiction, tossed aside by the Country they fought to defend.VA hospitals not set up to care for them, families don't want them no more..We the citizens they protected, turn our noses up at them because we refuse to learn their story.Never look down on someone, you never know what their story is..Just like Stephen!!I never saw that coming!! Gifford opens his heart and life without being aware at first..He takes on a serial killer and the mob..Learns that sometimes being alone isn't what God has in store for you..You can be a light..what a well written book.Thank you Mr.Groat for gifting me this book in exchange for a review. Can't wait for next adventure.

  • Elizabeth Ehlen
    2018-08-06 12:15

    Gifford has got to get out of downtown St. Louis to flee the Hacker, an assassin who for some unknown reason targets the local homeless population. After discovering his friend, Raphael, cut to pieces he takes Tobias, Raphael’s faithful dog, and heads south, toward Benoit. There he finds a community and even somewhat steady work at the local brick yard, but also danger. Has the Hacker been tracking him? Who does the Hacker work for and why is he following Gifford? Monarchs and Mendicants is a thoughtful tale that looks at the plight of the homeless through Gifford, a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and generally down on his luck guy. He is the homeless guy that no one likes to admit exists - not a druggie or a wino, or lazy, just trying to catch a break. You can’t help but be drawn to him despite his tough exterior, and root for him as he works to survive and eventually come out of his shell to do what he does best - fight for others who need a break too. As I live in the greater St. Louis area I was also drawn to the tales from home, and Groat’s description of the area is quite sound, although many of the names were changed of course. Mostly though, you are drawn to the plight of homeless in general, and if you assume that everyone is homeless because they choose to be you might find yourself questioning that assumption after reading it. I love literature that challenges assumptions, and Groat’s work certainly falls in that category. My one issue with the book was actually the cover as it screamed amateur. In this case, the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly rings true!

  • Julie Webb
    2018-07-27 09:29

    I found it hard to put down Dan Groat’s book, Monarch and Mendicants. The way Groat writes really makes me care about the characters. It is one of those books that feels real, almost as if it is a biography instead of fiction. The main character, Gifford, is a former Navy Seal, and now living on the street as a homeless person. He is an honest man who works hard when he can get a job, takes care of his dog, and repays other people for information and kindnesses that they share with him. He doesn’t look for trouble, but he doesn’t let anyone push him around either. As he gradually forms friendships with other homeless men, we see a unique community forming. Running through all this are The Hacker, who kills homeless men, including one of Gifford’s friends; Movay, who owns most of the local buildings and runs the area like a medieval king, and Father Michael, who welcomes the homeless into his church, feeds them and treats them with respect. I am lucky enough not to have to live on the street, and this book taught me a lot about what people have to do to survive. It is also a somber reflection of what happens to some war veterans. This is a wonderful book, and I hope it reaches a wide audience. Dan Groat’s writing made me feel as if I was in downtown St. Louis, watching the story happen right in front of me. It is a poignant and moving book that could be truth as easily as it is fiction.

  • Sandra
    2018-08-16 10:17

    I was intrigued by the title of this novel, and by the simplistic, but interesting, cover of the novel, which attracted my attention, being a chess lover. I hadn’t read anything from this author before, but decided to read the novel as I am always on the lookout for new unknown authors in the mystery/drama genre, and I found the synopsis of the novel to be interesting. I appreciated the styling of the novel and the different perspective from which it is told from, and I respect that the author has chosen to deal with the theme of homelessness, as there are not many novels told from such a perspective. I did find the novel a little hard to get into initially, but when I persevered I found myself becoming more and more absorbed into the story, and appreciating the depth of the plot. Although the novel deals with some powerful, deep themes, it was also quite an easy read once you got past the opening chapters. The writing is good, and the editing is well done, and the plot is well-rounded overall. I expected the story to be more drama/thriller/mystery, but these themes seemed to be more secondary, with a deeper focus on social issues, self-discovery and the realities of the homeless. I recommend this novel to those readers looking for a mystery novel which is not too complicated, and one which has a little more emotional depth to it.

  • Elizabeth (Stuffed Shelves)
    2018-08-01 09:13

    This type of book is one that does not strictly belong to one category. It's a thriller, it's action and adventure, it's pure intrigue. Gilford Ulrich, living in St. Louis is suffering from PTSD from his time in Afghanistan with the Navy Seals. He's willing to do any job to help him convince himself that he is not homeless, despite the fact he lives on the street with his adopted street dog. He fights against becoming officially homeless, and tries his hardest to continue on alone the way he's used to handling things. He can't fight the family of the streets, as they slowly welcome and draw him in to a whole new society. As someone who personally has PTSD, I can relate to some of the psyche involved in describing Gilford's character as he is built up along the storyline. It gives the reader a great glimpse into how one might think or behave while suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Overall you are opened up to Giflord's life, and you won't know how to let go once the book ends. You'll want more, to know him better than just the peek Dan Groat gives us in Monarchs and Mendicants. Gilford finds himself considered a target by a serial killer, since he is technically homeless, and the serial killer is targeting those like him. Overall this is a 5/5 book, thrilling me and keeping me entertained for hours as I read this book from beginning to end.

  • Danielle Urban
    2018-08-04 12:16

    Monarchs and Mendicants by Dan Groat is a masterpiece readers can't put down or ignore. This brilliantly told story features a man who is a retired Navy Seal. Soon, he ends up homeless and uses the skills he learned in the military to his advantage for survival. Living as a homeless person is by far the saddest and most dangerous kind of living one will ever take up...whether by force or by choice. A friend dies and now that friend's dog and ex-Navy Seal will battle all kinds of danger. Whether related, unfair minimum wages, and a hired killer. Those who protest against the minimum wages given are taken down one by one...and soon Gifford Ulrich lands on that killer's list. A realistic survival story that will keep readers intrigued as the plot continues to unfold. Fast-paced, highly entertaining, and suspenseful. Dan Groat has a talent for creating the best world of fiction. I was instantly pulled in frompage one and didn't reemerge until the last page. Monarchs and Mendicants is like the Bourne movie series...full of action, fighting, and intrigue. Kept me guessing...and captivated. Overall, I highly recommend this stunning novel to readers worldwide.

  • John Rogers
    2018-08-10 09:07

    From the title and the cover’s chess pieces, one might expect a historical thriller, perhaps a fantasy. The story is more down to earth, in many ways. The protagonist, Gifford, is a cypher of a man: smart, former Navy Seal and … street person. Like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, Gifford has very little history. He’s better than Reacher, though, because we do see his inner landscape, often through conversations with his dog, Tobias. As the story progresses, we meet other street people, and the author handles them well … a community organizer without a community, a Shakespearean actor without a gig among them. There is a power structure that uses and abuses the down-and-out men in the neighborhood. Like every novelist, Groat’s choice of subject and plot pose challenges. One is that it is hard to make a street person’s daily grind of finding food, stashing small amounts of money, keeping warm and staying alive interesting (because it’s so repetitive). Groat handles that well, but repetition of plot elements and Stephen’s exegesis of street philosophy sometimes made the story drag.

  • Julie Baswell
    2018-07-27 13:23

    The homeless living on the streets of St. Louis are being picked off by a serial killer. After his only friend becomes a victim, Gifford adopts his dog Tobias and moves on to another area further on. He takes a job that pays enough to survive on, but being surrounded by other homeless it becomes a constant struggle to stay the loner he had become. Before he knows it, he has been drawn into the brotherhood of his fellow miscreants and becomes a leader he never wanted to be.Gifford was pretty rough around the edges, but like the rest of the characters in this book, I was drawn to him and his strength. I kept hoping that he would soften to all the kindness and friendship he was offered. I like that this story had mystery, suspense, drama, and even a little history, all rolled into a plot that had you wondering how the story would end for Gifford. And all of his surrounding characters had equal depth, so that you either liked or hated them. Nothing in between. Even though this story had an ending, I’m so glad that Gifford’s story continues.

  • Romuald Dzemo
    2018-07-27 14:12

    Monarchs and Mendicants by Dan Groat is a riveting story that will open the eyes of readers to the startling truth that life could so cruel, but not hopeless, and that things may not always be what they seem to be. Gifford Ulrich is a trained College Navy Seal, recently returned from Afghanistan, a man who suffers from PTSD. Upon his return, he seems to have lost everything, so he is homeless and jobless, a nonchalant kind of guy who minds his own business, but it seems like others won’t let him alone. The presence of a powerful mob operating within his surroundings and a serial killer whose reputation continues to grow will draw him out from his comfort zone.The writing is beautiful and it covers existential themes like loneliness, poverty, and the struggle for survival in ways that are intriguing and poignant. This is one of the books that successfully blend different genres into a single compelling story that will appeal to a wide audience with diverse tastes and interest. The cast of characters is hugely interesting and the pace is fast. Groat is a master entertainer.

  • Kathy
    2018-08-05 10:08

    Disclaimer: I won this book on Goodreads.I was surprised by this story. What I thought was the main mystery turned out to be part of a bigger mystery, and that mystery was not the lead plot. Most of the book is a drama about the everyday life of a homeless man. It is a violent and hard life, and it is very interesting. Despite all the deaths and beatings, I think the saddest thing might be Giff's dream of getting an apartment across the river. He deserved a better dream. (Disclosure: I am a longtime resident of Illinois.)Notes: On page 128, two characters refer to Giff by his first name either though neither of them should have known his name at the time. Giff, who refused to give anyone his name, did not comment on this. Also, when Giff crossed the river at the end of the book, he turned right and eventually looked "left, back south to the bridge." The bridge would have been to his right, north of his current position.

  • Michelle Dunton
    2018-08-07 12:33

    I can not express enough words to say how much I loved this book!! I wish there were 10 stars!!

  • Kathy
    2018-07-29 09:27

    Disclaimer: I won this book on Goodreads.I finished and reviewed this book months ago, but I cannot find my review. I did like the book. I was amused that the main character spent so much time dreaming of living in Illinois. Illinois may not have homeless serial killers, but it has its own problems.

  • Dan Groat
    2018-07-30 11:07