A VVivacious Release Day Review: Stranger in a Foreign Land by Michael Murphy


Rating: 2 Stars out of 5

Patrick is in Thailand when his cab gets involved in a brutal accident resulting in him losing all of his memory. Lost and confused not to mention tired, bruised and helpless Patrick finds shelter near a pineapple cannery where he meets Jack.  Jack starts to take care of Patrick now known as Buddy and earns his trust and more. Just as Patrick and Jack find themselves deeply in love Patrick’s past comes knocking in the form of his brother.

Oh! I have a lot to say about this one. There were just so many things in this one that bugged me right from the very beginning. The first and foremost one being the wandering POV. Right in the very beginning of this book when Patrick was all alone the author managed to make the POV wander between Patrick and Amnesia Patrick aka Buddy.

In the middle of Patrick/Buddy trying to save his life, you would find yourself in the middle of some exposition on money which actually held no relevance to the story whatsoever and ended on the note that it wasn’t the first and foremost thing on Patrick’s mind, maybe because he is trying to flee a car moments from exploding.

But, the wandering POV just didn’t let up and when we got to Jack, the POV changed every paragraph until it resulted in passages such as the one below –

“I don’t know,” Jack answered honestly.

Feeling uncomfortable, Buddy decided to make a joke, or try to anyway.

It was obvious to Jack what Buddy was trying to do.

“You obviously see the bed,” he said, gesturing toward the double bed against another wall.

By the end, I had no idea who was actually talking.

Generally, I can tolerate head-hopping to quite a great extent but since in this book it was happening from the very beginning, it kept bringing me out of the book, as a result, I just wasn’t as invested in the characters and therefore was hypercritical of everything.

For me the shower scene came across as very predatory, especially considering Buddy’s almost child-like enthusiasm with everything Jack. I was hyperaware of the power Jack had over Buddy in that situation and I truly feel that not addressing that inequality did nobody any favours because till the very end Buddy/Patrick is way too dependent on Jack for everything. Jack is his entire life and frankly if this relationship doesn’t pan there will be no Patrick which is a horrifying thought.

Also, would it have killed Patrick to sympathise with his parents? He acts as nothing short of a petulant child in all those scenes. I was actually quite shocked to face the reluctance with which Patrick approaches the entire ordeal of learning who he was. He definitely doesn’t seem interested and makes no efforts to reconnect or at least sympathise with his parents which was something I couldn’t understand. Like he refers to his mother as that woman, I mean yeah I know you have no recollection of her but she is your mother and just for that fact you owe her respect if nothing else.

For some reason the author goes back to calling Buddy as Patrick even though he has no idea what it is to be Patrick and more so ever has no interest in finding out either and considering how Patrick/Amnesia Patrick/Buddy reacts to everything Patrick, I really don’t think she should have gone back to it.

Also, I have got to mention this but Patrick at one point asks James if his/their, mother is aged, and I was left gawking, well she has to be older than you doofus and you are no spring chicken yourself. This was just one of those many things in the book that made the story veer into the implausible. I couldn’t relate to the story and the plot just seemed far-fetched.

I, for the most, liked Jack but it was very hard for me to tolerate Patrick he was just so many things at so many different times that it was hard to know who he was, whoever this character was, Patrick or Buddy since I am not even sure about that.

Despite its flaws, I still managed to finish the story which seems like an accomplishment in itself.

Cover Art by Bree Archer. I liked the cover though I have no idea who that model is supposed to depict.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 216 pages
Expected publication: July 3rd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition LanguageEnglish