One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel [in Library Journal]
At just three-and-a-half hours, Daniel Magariel’s debut novel should be a quick listen – time-wise, that’s obviously true – but be warned: this affecting, hypnotic tragedy will linger and haunt long after. Narrator Gibson Frazier – pitch-perfect in his characterization of the two abused brothers – is especially chilling as the father who can go from buoyant to snarling without warning.
In the tumultuous wake of acrimonious family disintegration, the father takes his two sons – the younger just 12, who’s been coerced into being “one of the boys” by rejecting his mother – from their Kansas home and relocates to New Mexico: “We’ll all be kids again,” the father promises. The brothers adapt, both proving especially talented on the basketball court. Their father, however, spirals out of control: his cigars are replaced by more debilitating substances, his hands (and almost anything they touch) become weapons, his mind and heart increasingly incapacitated. Trapped and desperate, the brothers know they won’t survive – but escape is a formidably daunting risk. Precise, riveting, incandescent, Boys belongs on multiple shelves, in multiple formats.