Reviewed by Marty Shaw for Reader Views (7/13)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘Stairway2 Heaven’ by Chaz Thompson on Blogcritics.
“Stairway2 Heaven” by Chaz Thompson introduces us to life in an almost Dystopian 22nd Century. I say almost because the world is, for the most part, still recognizable as our own, although there are a few differences. One of those differences is that psychics are now seen in a legitimate light, with their skills being so highly regarded that many large companies use them when interviewing potential employees.
Matthias “Matt” Chalmers is one of those psychics; a semi-retired guy that feels the burn-out that most people with similar talents share. Matt has the ability to look inside a person and see their past, present, and future. He has viewed his talent as a gift and a curse at different times, but mostly he saw it as a meal ticket. He’s a long way from being perfect but he’s not really a bad guy. He just has a natural talent for making bad decisions.
One decision that Matt considered to be good was helping his son, Lanier, get a job with a big pharmaceutical company, but he soon realizes his bad luck still holds strong. While working on a formula for a new brand of toothpaste, Lanier accidentally creates a solution that releases a person’s soul from their body. Since he thinks he’s not doing anything more serious than a taste test, he samples the new product himself and becomes the first soul released, his body only kept alive because of life support.
Matt’s life changes forever when he’s called in to use his abilities and family connections to retrieve the formula, which was stolen shortly after Lanier’s accident, and the bodies start to soon pile-up as Matt finds himself stuck within a web of deceit as competing factions fight to get the formula for themselves.
The author has done a great job with creating this new world, describing it in such vivid detail that it’s easily pictured in the imagination, and the real-world qualities of the characters will prompt the reader to sit back and think over the beliefs and motivations that guide all of us. There is no black or white in this world; only shades of gray. Even the main antagonist isn’t purely evil. He’s simply motivated by greed and a need to be in control.
On the other hand, Matt falls short of being a perfect hero. He’s flawed and jaded, with a family history that weighs on him throughout the story. Still, he wants to do the right thing and honestly wants to help his son, although their relationship was nowhere near ideal.
“Stairway2 Heaven” by Chaz Thompson isn’t a light read. The characters are complex and the world they live in can be grim but you won’t regret giving this book a try because it offers an adventure that’s hard to put down.