Gerry Fostaty's Stage Business quickly sweeps the reader into the slightly dark and incredibly intriguing universe of its narrator, Michael Dion, a relatable Toronto-based actor. The novel begins with Michael learning about the possible disappearance of a teenaged boy, the family friend of a woman Michael is interested in. Looking for any excuse to get this woman's attention, Michael offers to help - unwittingly throwing himself head-first into what soon becomes a full-blown search and rescue mission.
With the assistance of an unexpected group of friends (fellow quirky stage actors and crew), Michael devises a scheme that triggers an incredible sequence of events, bringing both the characters and readers on a journey through an unexpected side of Toronto, touching on the city's drug culture and underground rave scene. Having a group of actors as the main characters allows for the development of some creative, over-the-top scenarios, while maintaining the authenticity of a modern-day reality.
Much of the story's brilliance lies in its simplicity; the language is straightforward, the plot does not overreach, and the narrative moves at a very satisfying pace, providing just enough detail to set the scene, but never dwelling on the insignificant.
The reader can't help but remain completely invested as Michael and his colleagues find themselves caught up in a chain of troubling events, with an ever-growing sense of danger and drama. Each chapter ended on a note of suspense, and left me wanting more.
This is Fostaty's first work of fiction, and I'm sure it won't be his last. With Stage Business, he masters the balance between the dramatic and the humorous, keeping the narrative light and quirky, while maintaining a level of suspense and intrigue throughout the whole novel. The story had me captivated from the first page, and has stayed with me days after finishing the last. The plot is compelling, the characters are genuine, and the fast-paced, conversational dialogue makes the reader feel as though they are part of the adventure. Best of all, the ending leaves just enough room for another book to take place in the same universe. A truly fabulous read!
Stage Business is published by Deux Voiliers Publishing for release on November 1, 2014.