Monday, March 9, 2015

"Touched Up" by Leo Dufresne

Touched Up
by Leo Dufresne

Touched Up is currently on tour with Worldwind Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a short excerpt and my review. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Blackmail is never black and white.
Mitch Pederson, a forty-something executive in the high-tech world, made no allowance for blackmail in his comprehensive plans to ascend to the top of an electronics company. His carefully ordered world quickly unravels into a chaos that threatens everything he cares about. As he puts the pieces of his life back together he discovers something about himself that is much more than the sum of the parts.

No one should smile before the sun rises. On the happiness scale, content is about as good as you can get to in these dark hours. I wake early most every morning because content works for me. Since becoming the father of two, this tiny portion of the day is all the me-time I have left. If people were honest, which they mostly aren’t, I think they would admit to wanting more time alone. It’s 5:47 AM and I’m sitting quietly in the kitchen, where there are no responsibilities, no guilt, and no unmet expectations. Simply silence.

Praise for the Book
"Mitch's wit will pull you in, and then you'll get hooked on his journey - and what he finds at the end of it. Touched Up is full of suspense, family drama, and it even has a touch of inspiration. A good investment for your reading list." ~ Lisa Shapiro
"The humor, the authenticity, the character development and the redemptive nature of this book will keep you engaged and wanting more. Can't wait for future books by Leo Dufresne." ~ Ashley
"I recommend this book to anyone that likes suspense. What starts out as a story of blackmail ends up being a story about self-discovery for the main character and forces him to figure out what is truly important in his life." ~ Nancy
"Touched Up is interesting, and different. Not what you'd expect. I was pulled along waiting to see if Mitch would triumph or fail, sometimes cheering him on, and sometimes wanting to smack him up side the head. That's how I knew the main character was complex and well crafted. Definitely a good read!" ~ Deb
"I'm an avid reader and am always looking for good characterization. The character of Mitch is intriguing and the plot never slows down! The witty repartee is perfect for those who love sarcastic whit. Just wait for the plot twist half way through. I can't wait for the next installment!" ~ Anna Nelson

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Mitch is on track to becoming the next CEO of CommGear, an engineering company, when things start to fall apart. His wife wants marriage counselling, his teenage daughter is being outright rebellious, his investments are crashing, and his major project is on the brink of failure. Then he starts getting anonymous letters, which hint at blackmail. When Jimmy Lee, one of his underling managers, starts acting out, Mitch begins to suspect he's the blackmailer and decides to take matters into his own hands. This is the beginning of a downwards spiral that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. The only thing that is keeping him sane is his love of photography. And when that becomes the source of one of his greatest regrets, Mitch decides there is only one way to solve all of his problems.
Mitch is a bitter man, constantly recalling things his father did before he killed himself when Mitch was a boy. Mictch speaks in extended metaphors throughout the book, with imagery centering on dogs, horse racing, baseball, and especially boating. He also has an extremely sardonic sense of humor that manages to lighten the mood of this very dark story. The title refers to Mitch's obsession with photography and his attempts to "touch up" his life so that it looks all right from the outside, when things are actually falling apart on the inside. This theme comes together nicely at the end of the book.
Touched Up surprised me constantly; I couldn't tell where the story was going. I also wasn't expecting the deeply religious/philosophical aspects to the story. However, one major incident is resolved without explanation.
A captivating read.

About the Author
The son of a career Air Force serviceman, Leo spent his childhood living the nomadic life of a military brat. Having survived the constant uprooting, Leo draws upon the time spent in the four corners of the US as well as Europe to develop his characters.
Leo has finally settled down in San Diego, California with his wife of over thirty years. Aside from writing, and engineering (the necessary day job), he enjoys time with his children/grandchildren, running distance races and all things baseball.'
"I write contemporary novels where I stress a character's beliefs to the point of breaking and then I follow along for the ride. My goal is to offer readers a pause in their lives to think about what they believe and why."~ Leo Dufresne