Foreword Reviews

Escape to the Wildey

Book 1

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

Escape to the Wildey is a fun romantic thriller that proves that you are never too old to find love and adventure.

David Kempher’s zany romantic thriller Escape to the Wildey follows an older couple on a wild adventure.

Elderly Ethan wants to escape from his family. They think that he needs to retire to an old folks home. He’s having none of it, and so he uses his clandestine service skills to escape. He’s picked up hitchhiking by Mary—a most unexpected woman who is also on the run from her overprotective family. Her family thinks that she ought to give up her driver’s license. The two become a pair, and their road trip leads to some wonderful, offbeat adventures.

Early on, Ethan tells Mary that he wants to see a movie one last time in the Wildey Theater. Mary agrees to travel with him. In the process, she finds the love that she was missing all of her life. Ethan has a mysterious past; it soon catches up to him in the form of shady goons who tail the couple, as well as a crazy ex-lover who’s looking for answers. There are also pistol-packing lesbians and licentious villains in this tale with constant surprises; even though the plot is sometimes contrived, it is engaging throughout.

Good humor and biting satire abound. Mary and Ethan spend a night in the “Brazen Hussy Hotel,” for example; it’s an apt description of Mary’s hopes for Ethan, and an obvious foreshadowing of their eventual vigorous lovemaking activities. Such moments generate added interest in their sweet affair, helping to balance out the book’s bombastic action scenes.

Further, Ethan and Mary’s compelling, complex histories befit their late life adventures. Ethan’s massive feelings of regret propel him onward; a new challenge makes it even harder to complete his goal. And Mary’s history is sadder, with broken relationships and the sting of what might have been echoing on every page. Together, they are an authentic couple who face the somewhat bizarre with grace.

The adventure expands to include a collection of oddball satirical characters, including an Elvis impersonator, a corrupt reverend, and the North Euphorean Dear Leader, Chairman Dim Ping-pong. But the Reverend Swindle and the Dear Leader are obvious caricatures of real world people, skirting the bounds of good taste, and the book’s mockery of North Euphoreans leans into crude stereotyping.

Still, Ethan’s undercover skills and contacts help to keep the couple one step ahead of the book’s bad guys, with it soon becoming clear that Ethan wants to settle one last score before he is forced into perpetual retirement. The pair’s race to complete their mission is thrilling—as is the book’s conclusion, which is in keeping with all of the strangeness that comes before it.

Escape to the Wildey is a fun romantic thriller that proves that you are never too old to find love and adventure.

Reviewed by Jeremiah Rood

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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