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Diane Vallere

The Big Empty: A Thriller Mystery

The Big Empty - Ritch Gaiti Rick Wallace is a haunted man. He has taken refuge in the desert town of Tecumseh, Arizona, following a traumatic personal experience in New York. An attorney by trade, Rick spends most of his time drowning in scotch, trying to dull the memories of his time in New York. After a particularly aggressive bender, he awakens to two strange men in his office. These men need him to retrieve an important document for them – in New York. The promise of a large payday overrides his better judgment and he reluctantly heads for New York. He is hopeful that he will be able to get in, get what he needs, and get out quickly. He is very wrong.

Forced to confront the events in his past that sent him spiraling into despair, Rick realizes that the document he has been sent to retrieve is not what he believes it to be. It is not even close. With the help of an eccentric Columbia Law professor, Rick finds that the document is tied to his past, and that it exposes a vast conspiracy, extending from the top levels of New York society all the way back to the first residents of Manhattan Island, the Lenape Indians. Ricks own Native American ancestry - and the visions that go along with it - become more and more important to unraveling the mystery. As he unravels this mystery, Rick finds that he has to face head on the people from his past who were involved in the event that changed his life. As he does, he finds that what he believed to be true is not, and what he thought happened did not happen as he remembers. As he is forced to reevaluate all that he has held to be true, one last shocking twist leaves him wondering if the past 10 years happened at all.

Ritch Gaiti is, in a word, a genius. He has masterfully created a character that is so flawed, yet so relatable, that you feel like you know him. Your heart aches for the personal hell that Rick cannot escape. This story advances at a breakneck speed, with so many twists and turns that you feel like you have been trapped on a runaway train that spits you out breathlessly at the end. Gaiti’s writing style sucks you in so completely that you feel like you are right there running alongside Rick as he hurtles through Manhattan, trying to make sense of a seemingly senseless puzzle. As Rick’s memories come flooding back to him, the reader relives them with him, until you are left feeling that these were your experiences and your memories. This all leads up to the final plot twist that makes you feel like you were sucker punched and are left asking “What the hell just happened?”

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Ritch Gaiti is one of those rare authors that has the ability to create a world and immerse his readers into it. I look forward to going back and reading this book again to fill in the blanks that I missed the first time I read it. Bravo Mr. Gaiti! This one is a winner.

Review by Rebecca Kinnie
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