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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Otherplace is a fiction novel by J.C. Rock. Richard and Pam are two friends who are inseparable. Both are homeless and take care of each other on the streets. Four years ago, Richard’s wife, Sharon, had gone to use the restroom at a restaurant, but never returned. When Richard searched the restroom, all that remained was Sharon’s open purse, its contents scattered on the floor and counter, showing signs of a struggle. After years of searching, spending most of his money and savings on private investigators (all of whom come up empty, with not a single scent of Sharon’s whereabouts), he uses the rest of his savings to kill the painful memories with illicit drugs. Carlos, the drug dealer who had gotten Richard hooked on cocaine, is now trying to get him to quit after a new experimental drug transcends Richard to another world – known as ‘otherplace’ – where he gets to spend time with Sharon. Able to embrace him in her arms, Sharon begs Richard to help her escape, claiming that she is being held against her will by the Tall Man and his guards, who hurt her when he is displeased. Torn between trying to differentiate what is real and what is not, Richard needs to make a decision that can either make his life whole once more, or end it permanently.
While Otherplace is a work of fiction, the scenarios within are so scarily real. J.C. Rock has taken some hard-hitting issues such as homelessness, drug abuse, depression and desolation, combining these with the possibility that there may be life after death. Initially, Sharon’s location sounded like the Crossroad (the point between life and death), until the introduction of the terrifying kidnap scenario which turned the story dark. Another tough issue which is brought up in Otherplace is the battle between love and life. It made me think of the choice I would make if I had to try to save the person I loved most, whether that danger was real or perceived, and life itself. J.C. Rock’s writing is, indeed, full of depth, pulling the reader into the ‘otherplace’ so they can experience both worlds and decide which is real and which is not. I recommend this book to all those who enjoy their books with a touch of mystery, reality, love, hope and sadness ... with a dash of supernatural on the side.