by Kevin Desinger

Unbridled Books, $24.95, 272 pages

What would you do if you saw your car being stolen? Get somewhere safe and call the police? Try to stop the theft? In Kevin Desinger’s novel The Descent of Man, when mild-mannered Jim wakes to find two men trying to steal his car, he goes outside to get the plate numbers of the thieves’ truck. In a split-second decision, Jim climbs into the truck and steals it from the thieves. When police become involved, Jim tells lie after lie to avoid self-incrimination. But this only further commits him to a pattern of life where nearly every possible choice he can make is the wrong one. Soon his life spirals out of control. The thieves, looking for revenge, begin stalking and terrorizing Jim and his wife. Jim finds himself behaving in unfamiliar ways. His challenge is to escape from his fabricated life and return to reality. This is a fascinating story about how one decision can alter life forever. The reader is encouraged to think about how they would handle life-changing situations.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin