The Stages by Thom Satterlee

The Stages by Thom Satterlee
Publisher: Crooked Lane
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (209 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

He trusts everyone, when he shouldn’t trust anyone.

How does a man with Asperger’s Syndrome step out of his office, leave behind the safety of his desk and books, and embrace the world he’s always kept at arm’s length?

All his life, Daniel Peters has hidden behind his reputation as one of the world’s best translators of the iconic philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. When his beloved ex-girlfriend and mentor dies under odd circumstances and a priceless Kierkegaard manuscript goes missing, Daniel turns out to be the last person to have seen her alive. To clear his name, he must leave the safety of his books and venture out into the streets of Copenhagen.

Reminiscent of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime, this mystery will keep readers guessing until the final page.

Who would kill the director of a specialized unit that worked only on the literature of Soren Kierkiegaard? It becomes clearer when the manuscript they were working on comes up missing. It’s not locked in the vault in another locked container. It’s nowhere in the building…

This story digs deep into the historical importance of Kierkiegaard’s work. It was almost too much detail for me. It also dwells on Asperger’s Syndrome. I found that much more interesting. Some of the symptoms of Daniel are the same as my own. That’s because I can be an introvert at times. With Daniel, it was a way of life.

The only way Daniel could hold a job was to focus on his task. He translated meticulously and accurately. He worked alone and had to make himself socialize. He couldn’t carry on a conversation and had trouble understanding a joke or why one he told wasn’t funny. But he doesn’t believe the director planned to die. Since he was almost the last one to see her live, the police come into his life and he has to turn in the shoes he was wearing (he fell down the stairs and hit the wall with his shoes) and he had to give them his DNA. He wasn’t excited about having the swab taken, but he did it.

This story goes way back. Daniel was once briefly engaged to the victim. He knows the family has a secret but he doesn’t know what it is. When he visits a bank deposit box to see what she has left him, it’s his translation of the manuscript and an amber necklace from long ago. His love from his past has left him a message.

This is complex tale with lots of players and various self-interests. There are secrets that have the power to hurt. It begins with a mother’s death, then the son commits suicide and the case gets even more intense. The author does a good job of offering hints and information all along the way. Some are more obvious than others. The ending was interesting and not something you could see forthcoming. It’s well worth a read, especially if you like history.

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