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Reviewed by Dan M. Kalin for Readers' Favorite
The Neon God: A Novel is first and foremost a story about New Orleans. While it could be argued New Orleans is merely the backdrop, I'd say no other city could support what happens within this story. Dionysius, the God of Revelry and Wine, or Dio for short, has relocated to New Orleans, seeking a more relaxing locale than Mt. Olympus where he is always under the baleful (and dangerous) gaze of his mother-in-law, Hera. He soon learns not to address the locals as "Nubians" and, not finding the party he was expecting, sets forth to make it happen on his own. Along the way, he is taken under the wing of a local first-year law student, Zibby Dufossat, who sets him up temporarily in their AirBnB backyard rental to keep him off the streets. Zibby wants to be a writer more than a lawyer but hasn't quite figured it out yet. Dio's presence adds divine chaos to what already is a supremely chaotic place, creating a toxic brew which is sure to end in someone's tears.
Ben D'Alessio weaves the twin story threads of Zibby and Dio around the chaotic maypole that is New Orleans, rendering a very entertaining read. He even gives himself a cameo role as a law school mentor who later proves to be a cad. I enjoyed Zibby's all-too-accurate quest to find an appropriate venue to submit her short stories for publication, as well as her navigation through the fire-hose of a first-year law school curriculum. I expect the author drew from personal experience as he is a lawyer himself. The Neon God: A Novel is very well written and this reader was pulled through the story almost non-stop. If the concept (What can go wrong when a party god hits a party town?) appeals to you, this is a fine choice!