Book Review by, John Price

Daniel P’Lopez is a fan of horror and thriller stories, being influenced by Dean Koontz, Stephen King and early horror flicks like Friday the 13th and Halloween. His first novel, The Vendetta House is an homage to this genre and is a classic and terrifying horror story. His second novel, The Story of Myles is a much more psychological drama about a sexually confused teenager dealing with the realities of a boyfriend in a small town. As one follows Daniel’s books over the years, it’s easy to see his work broadening in depth and impact. Alestir, his third novel is certainly his finest work and is a story that, although sometimes disturbing, has you riveted to every page.

Alestir’s journey requires the reader to experience the age of discovery through the eyes of a pre-teen whose tortured existence has left him with permanent psychological damage. The novel takes you deep inside Alestir’s mind and you feel for him. You understand the agony he’s been through – if not his shocking reaction to it.

The unfairness of Alestir’s situation brings about anger and frustration for the reader. You want to help him. You want him to find happiness. Alestir is like no character you’ve ever read. This twelve-year old boy has a dark side, that when exposed, changes his life and many of the lives around him.

When Alestir meets a seventeen-year boy, his attachment to him moves beyond a friendship into an obsession with surprising and unexpected results. On the outside, Randy appears to be the ideal high school student. He’s handsome and athletic; he’s smart, fun loving and popular with a girlfriend. It looks like he has it all, but one need barely scratch the surface to find out that Randy too, bears tremendous psychological burdens. He’s like Alestir in many ways. They both seem to wobble on the edge of sanity where only the slightest push might send them cascading over the brink.

Daniel’s writing style is straightforward. Alestir’s notions and ideas are placed before the reader in a matter-of-fact way that brings about a true page turning experience. The storytelling style certainly hooks you, reels you in and keeps you interested to the very last page. Nothing is as it seems in Alestir’s world and unfortunately the results can be devastating. This psychological thriller takes you on a journey that is as terrifying as it is compelling.

P’Lopez sat down with Adelante for an interview about his new book.ADELANTE: Where did you get the inspiration for your latest novel?

DANIEL: I got the idea when I was sixteen years old after seeing a music video called Jeremy, about a young boy living a hard life with a tragic ending. It inspired me to create a story about another troubled pre-teen, the difficulties he faces and the different ways he reacts.

ADELANTE: How would you classify this story?

DANIEL: It’s a dramatic story with horror elements. Alestir is a boy living with an alcoholic and abusive father. Because he’s different, he is constantly bullied and tortured at school. There’s violence and strong language in the book, so, even though he’s a pre-teen, this book is not meant for kids that age.

ADELANTE: Do you create characters that are based on yourself in any way?

DANIEL: Alestir is a Mexican-American, like I am and there are some parallels with my life at that age. I was an odd kid, picked on at school. I used to draw, sometimes dark and abstract images; but that’s where the similarities stop. Alestir’s reactions are dramatically different from my own.

ADELANTE: How long did it take you to complete a novel like this?

DANIEL: I started writing it as a teenager. I didn’t work on it constantly, I’m always writing lots of different projects and stories at the same time. I just finished Alestir earlier this year.

ADELANTE: What makes you keep writing?

DANIEL: This is my third novel and I’ve written them all for different reasons. I mainly write to entertain, and maybe even shock a little bit.

ADELANTE: What do you hope readers get out of the experience of reading Alestir?

DANIEL: I hope that people understand him and the things that he does because it is a violent story, but there are reasons for that that I hope the readers can relate with.