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| THE HOUSE THE LORD BUILT

The House the Lord Built-new Cover

The House the Lord Built

Journalist Marvin Brown Releases New Book on the History of Akron, Ohio Church, The House the Lord Built

ATLANTA, GA, (September 15, 2015) – Award-winning journalist, Marvin Brown, releases a full-color history book of The House of the Lord in Akron, Ohio. The book, The House the Lord Built, honors the 40-year history of the church, its members, and its legacy. Brown beautifully captures the story of how God built a church from the ground up, infused it with grace, and performed miracles all along the way. Memories of gratitude are sure to be the result as members of this church and those who had a hand in building the church, reflect on its 40-year history.

Black Christian Book Review

 

JIGSAW MAN

Suspense novel

Jigsaw Man

Jigsaw Man by Marvin Brown is a deliciously frightening tale that shows the worst side of humanity and how truth and love can bring redemption. The opening hook in Chapter One immediately grabbed my attention, and the active scenes with near-perfect pacing kept me riveted until the end of the story. Great job with characterization! I have no doubt fans will actively look for books by Marvin Brown.

—Writer’s Digest, Judge’s commentary

Akron author Marvin Brown’s impressive 2002 debut, the novella Covet, is a Kafkaesque psychological thriller about race and identity. It’s taken a while for him to follow it, but Jigsaw Man, his new suspense novel, is an intense story about the aftermath of “a night of eternal regrets.”
The story starts sometime in the 1970s, with half a dozen Akron teen stoners who ride around in a van, smoking dope and listening to Hendrix, one-upping each other with vulgar comments until it screeches to a halt in a horrifying incident that ends one life and destroys another.

Decades later, the men have varying degrees of success and challenges: one has become a contented priest, one draws a successful newspaper comic strip; one runs a PR firm, but his marriage has been broken by infidelity; a third is a dangerous drug addict and another is a sleazy sexual predator. When they are visited — first in their dreams, then in real life — by someone, or something, who knows all about what they did, they begin to consult each other about how to survive. Be prepared for a bloodbath.

—Akron Beacon Journal

 

COVET

Suspense novel

Covet

Russell Washington is not longer willing to let his skin color limit his possibilities.

It wasn’t just something as grand as a career; it was something as simple as a relationship with a woman. But then, that really wasn’t such a simple matter either.

The belief that there could be so much more for him will drive Russell to the most extreme of measures, even if this desire, this passion for fulfillment, requires that he give up his perfectly fine wife and the 3-year-old daughter he adores.

You see, Russell, a disaffected African-American, will go so far as to sell his soul to an anonymous keypuncher at the other end of a mysterious Internet connection.

Whether it is a dream, a psychotic episode, or an acid-induced hallucination doesn’t matter. The words that suddenly appear on Russell’s computer monitor are clear enough: “Welcome to your second chance.”

Yes, indeed, and welcome to a fascinating, chilling, tightly written psychological thriller that breaks many of the rules and explores new territory in the back man’s alienation in America.

Covet, written by Bowling Green State University graduate Marvin Brown, tops out at just under 140 pages, but they are pages full of enthralling twists that keep the reader busy guessing what lurks around the next bend.

When Russell agrees to a contact with the e-mail Beelzebub signed in blood—real blood—we are left wondering if this story is the result of an intricate, vast delusion.

The deal is this: for your soul, you get a second chance, a chance to be who you want to be. And Russell, who sees himself lying at the bottom looking up, doesn’t hesitate. “Freedom. Freedom to be me. Without limitations,” is his answer to the cyberspace Lucifer.

The deal is done, and Russell, now known as Garrett Kale, becomes white. Not just the color of his skin, not just his facial features, but his being, his very essence. Russell, or we should say Garrett, is Caucasian from the inside as well.

It’s instructive how Garrett’s life improves at first. Not just the important stuff, like the quality of life, the job, the woman. Now Garrett finds it everywhere: “Strolls down the block brought friendly reception, or luxurious invisibility—either was better than suspicion. No more needing to be overly courteous to sidestep presumptions of hostility; no more resenting the label of ‘trouble-maker’ for expressing righteous indignation … Second and third chances to succeed—to fail.”

But this can’t last—and it doesn’t. Garrett’s life inevitably becomes more complicated, and when his white skin starts slipping away, so does he—and his future.

Brown’s slim book is long on depth, ingenuity, and substance, but the book’s unusual style may be the most intriguing part of all. The author’s nonlinear approach is reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s groundbreaking movie Pulp Fiction. And, no, there’s nothing wrong with that.

—The Toledo Blade

 

Akron tale of 2 men who aren’t what they seem

Things haven’t been going too well for Russell. He didn’t get the promotion he was hoping for, and his wife, Sunitha, has left him, taking their 3-year-old daughter.

Garrett, on the other hand, is giddy with his promising new business opportunity and with Farren, the sexy young woman who seems to return his interest.

Russell goes into a tailspin of alcohol and lethargy. When he is offered the “freedom to be who he really wants to be,” he accepts. But the price is greater than he had dreamed.

And Garrett’s budding romance is stymied by a mysterious malady that strikes at the most inconvenient times.

The lives of these two men intersect in Covet, a suspense novel by Akron author Marvin Brown. Covet deals with racial identity in a Faustian drama in which, as the book’s back cover states, “neither man is who he seems.”

Russell is a black man who grew up among whites, and who is still stung from his rejection by a classmate’s sister. Russell is baffled by his wife’s ease in embracing her black heritage and community; as author Brown notes, he is “uneasy in his skin.”

After Sunitha leaves, Russell rents an apartment, where he spends his time drinking and surfing the Internet. One day he gets a cryptic e-mail: “Welcome to your second chance.” Russell can have anything he wants.

Brown uses some wry humor in the early scenes. When Russell signs the evil contract to make him the “man he is on the inside,” his computer responds, “Thank you for your order. You will be sent an e-mail confirmation shortly.”

Garrett is a white man about whom we know little. He takes Farren on a picnic to impress her with his sensitivity, and to an expensive restaurant to let her know he’s serious. He knows how to order trendy food and wine, but Garrett’s personality is only skin deep.

The slim volume could probably be called a novella, but a lot happens in its 139 pages. Brown found it tricky having only two main characters; the women and Russell’s daughter, Nina, are secondary players. Brown says that he is intrigued by creating psychological suspense where he can work in heavier issues.

The story takes place in Akron, and is peppered with local references. Teen-ager Russ and his friends talk Tribe. Garrett has lunch at Sand Run Metro Park. Local schools and roads are mentioned.

But any author could have done research on the area to incorporate those names. The telling moment is when 14-year-old Russ is playing a game of moonlight hide-and-seek and gets caught when he steps on a buckeye. It takes an Ohio author to know about things like that.

—Akron Beacon Journal

 

More acclaim for COVET:

“Marvin Brown’s debut novel Covet is a lean, complex jigsaw of a thriller, a fast-paced, contemporary parable on the psychology of race, the nature of identity and the brutal powers of memory. You will not soon forget Russell Washington and Garrett Kale, nor the very talented Marvin Brown. I was hooked on the very first page.”

Richard Montanari, author of The Violet Hour and Kiss of Evil

 

“A snappy 140-pager that reads like a dispatch from a coffee shop just outside of Hell.”

The Glass Eye

 

“A ‘psychological drama’ that reads like a cross between Goethe’s Faust and Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. An interesting, imaginative first novel.”

Ohioana Quarterly

 

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