There are certain things you can expect in a Travis Thrasher novel. Music and film references, melancholy, sarcasm and snark, terrific authentic writing, twists, and truly good dialogue. Those are a given.
In 40 the protagonist Tyler Harrison is a music producer. His memories are structured around songs that document the time and place, the scents and sensual, the emotional responses to different events in his life. He's been given an ear for sound, a need to draw the maximum from the singers, and he pursues lofty goals in a business that affords few the opportunities to realize them.
Tyler experiences a supernatural encounter while at a Lollapalooza concert where he's surveying talent and hoping to find a unique gem of a band to produce. He's there with his studio co-workers and friends, wandering off to find a friend of a friend but instead encounters someone else.
This begins the journey of Tyler's life leading up to his turning 40. The story covers the period from the concert to his 40th birthday which takes place over about a year's time. There is excessive folly, stark remembrances of his father's hellfire preaching, a deep-seated rebellion which he acts out in the accepted norms of his career choice, regret he refuses to address, and a stubborn ill-advised series of reactions to spiritual knowledge imparted to him.
It makes for excruciating reading because you just want him to come to his senses so badly, but . . . There's an expression people often use referring to some having to hit bottom before they want change. Tyler Harrison cruises like a bottom-feeder across a vast ocean of disappointment and depravity, neglecting everything of value and importance while reflecting on how he's screwed up everything of value and importance. Life's a struggle carried on in his favorite music, recorded on his i-pod, somehow providing him temporary solace.
The supernatural occurrences are fascinating reminders to this reader of both This Present Darkness and Prophet by Frank Peretti but set apart from those novels with Travis Thrasher's own voice, settings, and interpretations.
I highly recommend Travis Thrasher novels to readers who appreciate good writing and the atypical approach to Christian fiction. He captures good and evil and in between in his characters enticing the reader to get involved with them, often establishing a love/hate relationship with many of them. In 40 Tyler Harrison's journey leads him away from himself to find where he was meant to go. 40 will linger both during the breaks from reading it and after the final page.
Father, I pray you would continue to bless Travis' writing and the insights you inspire. Keep him and his family safe from all harm and watch over him as he writes to honor you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.