★★★ The short novel Phase, written by James West tells the story of a love triangle set in the midst of an office setting, as well as through the eyes of music-making main characters. Readers follow Alison Reilly, who works as a legal secretary during the day, while spending her nights making rocking tunes on her drum set. Her office isn’t her favorite place in the world, and she tries to keep her private life separate from her office life, but when a new coworker named Joan Stevens comes into the mix, Alison’s life completely changes. Add in fellow coworker George Kerns, who is a musician himself, and an unlikely love triangle is quickly formed. It’s not long before George and Alison start making music together, their shared interest in Joan slowly overtaking their minds. Tension heats up as the book speeds along, ending with a powerful and dramatic conclusion that will have readers feeling very satisfied.
Coming in at only a little over one hundred pages, Phase is more of a novella than a true novel, but there is still a complete story here for readers to get wrapped up in. We get to know the three main characters—Alison, Joan, and George—pretty well, but at times it almost feels like the author could have expanded the story and taken the reader on even more twists and turns. The conclusion of the book is satisfying, but comes about rather abruptly. Nevertheless, Phase is an engaging story that has something to offer for readers of all interests.
To purchase a copy of Phase by James West, click here to find it on Amazon.