By: Keith Thye
Publisher: Classic Day Publishing
Publication Date: February 2020
Reviewed by: Lynette Latzko
Review Date: April 11, 2020
Author Keith Thye presents to readers another installment in his Rusty Kenneficke trilogy, The Further Life of Rusty Kenneficke.
In the first book we met Rusty, an unemployed writer suffering from writer's block who decided to pack up his entire life and move into an RV so he could travel parts of the west coast in hopes of writing the next bestseller. Unfortunately, during his travels, Rusty was repeatedly hounded by the phantom of misfortune that thwarted his writing progress, leaving him in a wake of varying misfortune and destruction. Readers felt both sorry for Rusty, and hopeful that he would overcome the crazy adversities at the close of part one.
The Further Life of Rusty Kenneficke opens up a few months later (still in 1979), with Rusty finding steady employment at a motorcycle dealership. He has sold his motorhome, moved into a small apartment, and purchased a car. Life is looking good, especially now that he is settled and dating his old flame from school, Jan. Years progress and melt into decades as Rusty gets promoted to store manager and his relationship with Jan strengthens, so much so that they decide to pool their resources together (his brains, her money) and purchase the motorcycle dealership. Rusty Kenneficke appears to be living his happily ever after, owning a business with his woman by his side, but has he truly managed to escape the string of bad luck that plagued him decades ago, or is it merely lurking around the corner, waiting to pounce and wreak havoc upon him once again?
Meanwhile, the story changes perspective partway through, when readers are reminded about one of Rusty’s previous harrowing incidents back in 1979. He befriended a man named Boomer Laughlin, living in an RV next to him, but their friendship quickly went south when Rusty noticed items in his RV were missing and discovered them in Boomer’s RV. A series of crazy events ensued shortly after Rusty confronted Boomer that ended up landing Boomer in prison for eight years. Instead of accepting his punishment for the numerous crimes he committed, Boomer spent this time stewing over what he perceived as an injustice directly caused by Rusty, and upon his release from prison, he lets out the pent-up anger that has been festering for years, and sets out to exact revenge.
Where the first story was a light, humorous read, this second novel takes readers on a completely different and a bit more complex, but equally enjoyable, journey. We see that Rusty’s luck has greatly improved thus allowing him to lead a normal, and quite prosperous life with his girlfriend. At first the story remains simple, straightforward, and too good to be true. However, through the author’s expertise in storytelling, readers get a detailed view of a character in Rusty’s past, Boomer Laughlin. Readers will quickly realize that Boomer isn’t just a man who had a brief entanglement decades ago with Rusty, but he also has a considerably extensive criminal past. This shift in perspective creates both an entertaining read, and an eye-opening character study in which the author skillfully reveals critical information about Boomer’s storied past, setting the stage for his current and future actions. As the story’s pace intensifies towards the end, readers will easily become fully engrossed in all the nearly unbelievable events as they unfold, and will come to the realization that Rusty Kenneficke’s past has returned and he could possibly be facing something so terribly distressing, it will make his previous string of misfortunes pale by comparison.
Quill says: Are you curious to find out what adventures and mishaps Rusty Kenneficke gets himself into next? Don't hesitate to pick up The Further Life of Rusty Kenneficke, where Rusty comes face-to-face with an ultimate life-changing event; you won't be disappointed.
For more information on The Further Life of Rusty Kenneficke, please visit the author's website: www.keiththye.com