DiscoverComing of Age

A Coward's Guide to Oil Painting

By

Loved it! 😍

Adventure, mystery and mayhem. This coming-of-age caper will tickle your senses.

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” takes on a new meaning when an accomplished artist such as this one decides to paint with words. This multi-layered coming-of-age story blends genres under the skilful hand of the writer. The result? A combination of mystery, murder, romance and adventure that is certain to entertain.


The story is set in the late 60s and early 70s, and starts with a bang when an airplane loaded with marijuana crashes on a farm in West Texas. The owner of the plane, Blaine Grayson, is presumed dead. We learn more about him through Mariah — the woman he had a brief encounter with in New Orleans — and his younger brother Cliff. They alternate in telling the story as they both set out on their own to find him. This was a time marked by hatred of war, free love and free spirits, and the fight for civil rights. Not to mention the experimentation with drugs to create alternate realities. It is against this backdrop that Mariah and Cliff search for their own places in the world. Mariah poses nude for art and sculptor classes and tries her hand at farming. Cliff learns to paint under the tutelage of a mentor in Mexico. The writer uses terms and descriptions related to painting at the start of each chapter as signposts of what’s coming.


I like the visual nature of the tale. You can picture the landscape, and you can smell and taste the spicy Mexican food. You can hear the music and feel the breeze flowing over the lush vegetation. Yet, its greatest strength is also the novel’s weakness as the attention to detail slows down the pace of the story. After the dramatic start, the characters get lost in the angst of their relationships and new environment. It becomes tempting to pause and set the book aside. But then, luckily, the story picks up speed and rollicks on to its dramatic and open-ended conclusion.


This award-winning debut novel will appeal to baby boomers nostalgic about a bygone era. It is also a great read for anyone who enjoys the scenery as much as the journey of the story itself.


Reviewed by

I am a content creator by day and an avid reader by night. Growing up, I'd often read three books in a day, sometimes by candlelight. My taste in reading is ecletic. As an indie writer I like to support other writers, publishing reviews on Goodreads, Bookbub, Amazon and my own blog.

Chapter One

About the author

College athlete, College dropout, Draft Resister, Back-to-the-Lander, Father, Husband, Construction Worker, Furniture Builder, Woodcarver, Volleyball player, Student of Communication, Gardener, Grandfather, Oil Painter. National award winning artist who has written his debut novel. view profile

Published on July 15, 2020

Published by

110000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Coming of Age

Reviewed by