Book Review: Next

A snap decision finds underappreciated publishing editor Kevin Quinn on a plane bound for a job interview in Austin, Texas. Seated on the plane next to him is Kelly, an attractive young woman more interested in reading then idol conversation. Kevin becomes more then a little obsessed by her while combating his fear of terrorist attacks. Clearly, Kevin is not only in the midst of a midlife crisis but also has some major issues as he worries about attacks on helpless civilians in the air and on the ground. Upon arrival in Austin, Kevin begins following Kelly around the city while reliving previous love affairs including a memorable evening with the Philosopher’s Daughter.

As Kevin navigates downtown Austin he manages to get into an accident with a dog but that pales in comparison to what awaits him upon arrival for the job interview. Ever self absorbed, it is only in the last few seconds that he discovers the value of hearth and home, love and life.

The first three quarters of the book deals primarily with Kevin’s endless neuroses, fear of commitment and general dissatisfaction with life in general. The inner dialog tends to drag from time to time as Kevin indulges in endless reminiscing about his former loves and current girlfriend whom he suspects is trying to trap him into marriage. Readers are amply rewarded for their perseverance with a haunting ending that hammers home the importance of love.


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