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Mike Nemeth
A Tissue of Lies
Mike Nemeth, author

At a time when political leaders were brazenly assassinated, inalienable civil rights had to be guaranteed by legislation, race riots disfigured the American landscape, and a controversial war shaped social consciousness, the blue collar Kovacs family struggled to survive in a white collar world. In 1966, fifteen-year-old Eddie, the neglected middle child, harbored a dream that strained the family’s limited resources and sparked a contentious relationship with Dad. Danny, the eldest son, dreamt of becoming a professional baseball player, a dream Dad vowed to make come true at any cost. Mom wanted to escape her hand-to-mouth existence and was not above deceit to achieve her goal. When Danny received his draft notice, everyone’s dreams were imperiled. During that fateful summer, Eddie, with the help of his rebellious friend, Marcy, discovered Danny’s explosive secret, unraveled Mom’s buried lies, and uncovered Dad’s underhanded tactics to rescue Danny’s career. In a vain attempt to win Dad's approval, Eddie contrived a risky scheme to restore his brother’s dream. Eddie was willing to sacrifice his own dreams to save his brother, but he had no idea that the astonishing weight of bigotry would change his family forever.

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10


Plot/Idea: There is plenty of tension and conflict in this well-developed family drama. All the threads of the characters’ different motivations are deftly woven together into a seamless unfolding of events to a compelling conclusion.

Prose: The prose is engaging and well-paced, simple and perfectly suited to the POV of a 15-year-old boy.

Originality: The handling of Danny’s sexuality is a refreshing twist, and told in a way that perfectly reflects the era while at the same time treats it with a contemporary sensitivity. The conclusion—with Eddie essentially replacing Danny as “cannon fodder” in the Vietnam war—avoids any too-sweet conclusion.

Character/Execution: All of the characters are rendered with depth, detail, and complexity relative to their different circumstances and motivations. Eddie is suitably curious and conflicted; Marcy is courageous and careless in equal parts. Frank and Kat are shown as both desperate and resigned, while Danny shows sudden grace in finally accepting Eddie’s help and resetting his hopes. Gram’s life (and death) are full of humor and sadness.

Blurb: With echoes of John Fante, A Tissue of Lies grips the reader in the slow unraveling of an unhappy family’s conflicted loves and squandered hopes. Fifteen-year-old Eddie Kovacs is an endearing and unlikely anti-hero, flailing against an angry father’s contempt while fighting for his own and his brother’s futures. A captivating coming-of-age tale equal parts harrowing and fearless.

Date Submitted: April 07, 2024

Kirkus Indie Reviews

“An engrossing story of a kid deciphering the fine line between right and wrong. Eddie is a complex anti-hero: not as holy as he thinks, but capable of deep feeling, rendered in lyrical prose. Readers will root for his crooked search for a compromised goodness.” Kirkus Indie Reviews