"...The plot is quite original...The scenes in the hotel room helped flesh out the story...This book...[is] quite original and the ending is good...Ultimately if you like the idea of love conquering all, then I think you'll probably enjoy this story."--British Bull Dog
"5 Angels!...A story about loss and despair and new beginnings. This story may be short, but it is intense. The suspense regarding James's plan to commit suicide is enough to keep a reader fully engaged and even a little anxious for the duration. Ms. Espinoza has done an excellent job getting the reader to identify with James...As we watch him struggle with his fateful decision, we root for him to give life a chance; however, the story forces us to hang in suspense until the very end. I thought this story was quite well done."--Whitney, Fallen Angel Reviews
"...A very emotional story about a man who has lost everything and only takes a chance because he has nothing left to lose. Reading about James’ pain was heartbreaking, because it was so realistic...As the story progressed, Pepper Espinoza did an excellent job of creating suspense and emotion. At the end of the story, I felt relieved, satisfied, and certain that James would find what he needed in life after all. Anybody who likes stories with a lot of emotion and some bittersweet moments will be sure to enjoy The Obsolete Man."--Cassie, Joyfully Reviewed
...The only difference between that Monday morning and every other Monday morning was that James had already crossed the line in the sand. The train wasn’t taking him to Double Door Publishing, where he had spent the past twenty-five years of his life setting typeface and preparing items for the printing process. The train wasn’t taking him anywhere. But he was going to ride it one final time before he jumped in front of it.
James positioned himself in the seat that the man always chose when he entered the train car. As soon as he saw James, he stopped short with eyes slightly widened.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” James smiled. “I think I took your seat.”
“No, no. It’s fine. My name isn’t on it.”
James turned in his seat, as if to check. “It might be. What’s your name?”
“Nope, no Chad Pennington. But I’ll move anyway.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Chad protested.
“I don’t mind.” James slid to the empty seat to the left. “I’ve seen you on here before.”
“You mean, you’ve seen me every morning?” Chad asked lightly as he sat down. The train lurched to life, the engines making a familiar, high-pitched whine.
“That is what I meant. I wanted to introduce myself sooner, but you’ve always seemed so busy.”
James nodded at the folded New York Times. “Reading.”
“Actually, I only pretend to read this.”
James arched his brow. “Why would you pretend to read it? Are you trying to impress somebody?”
“I’m trying to hide the fact that I read this.” Chad lifted the flap of the newspaper, revealing a startlingly explicit yet whimsical book cover. A dark-haired man held another man in the clinch, while fires raged behind them. It looked like a gay version of Gone With the Wind. White text on the front informed James that the book was actually titled Gone to the Movies.
“What is that? Gay porn?”
Chad laughed. “No, it’s not.”
“What is it?”
“That’s usually how people justify porn.”
“True, but this is actual art. Well, parody. They’re all homoerotic parodies of movie posters.”
“I don’t hear that word much in everyday conversation.”
“People don’t use it enough. But I could avoid using it again, if you’d like.”
James shook his head. “No, I don’t mind it. You look at homoerotic pictures every morning on the way to work?”
“Not every morning. Sometimes I’m looking at actual gay porn.”
James laughed. The sound startled him. It was rusty and unrecognizable, and it hurt his throat a little bit. But he didn’t mind. In fact, he wouldn’t mind another one.
“I take it you don’t read gay porn on the morning train?” Chad asked.
“No, but…” James checked his watch. Seven-thirty-one. In less than twenty-four hours, this conversation wouldn’t matter. Connie’s anger wouldn’t matter. The endless psychological warfare that had characterized every moment of every day wouldn’t matter. The fact that he had no marketable skills and no future didn’t matter. He already felt palpable relief, and he was still almost twenty-four hours away from that release. “I don’t really need to read it. I have my own porn reel playing every morning.”
“Nothing unusual about that. I mean, don’t most guys have porn reels playing in their minds?”
“That’s what I’ve heard. I’d be interested in finding out how many of those mental porn reels star you, though...”