Title: The Life and Lies of Danny Diaz
Author: Andy Paine
Publication Date: January 21, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: 46 pages
Source: I received a free copy from the author
Rating: 5 Stars
An ageing rocker, a journalist, and a small, seemingly inconsequential object. This is the tale of the greatest musical theft in history.
Such a small, seemingly inconsequential object. Yet for ageing rocker Danny Diaz, journalist Henry Lapthorne, and indeed the entire population, it is an object that has aided in the greatest musical theft in history, forever altering the historical landscape of music as we know it.
After years of wilful deceit, Danny’s life has come full circle as he reaches out to the one man who forever doubted him, intent on telling his story, and finding peace with his past. For Henry, it is the story of a lifetime, an unbelievable tale of addiction, regret, and redemption. But can it possibly be true? Or is it just another ruse? Is this tale the fulfilment of Henry’s career, or yet another deception in the decades long animosity between two men who know each other so well, and yet not at all.
Content Warning: Theft, suicide, and deceit. The suicide was mentioned briefly and with no details at all about how it was accomplished.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch…or a free song.
The character development was excellent. Danny was never unlikeable, but he certainly was naive and a little selfish when I first met him. It was rewarding to get to know his personality better and see how the object he carried around for years changed him in all sorts of ways. Without giving away spoilers, this transformation of his was the best part of the entire plot because of how he reacted to it and what he did once he realized how much power he possessed.
I adored the ambiguous corners of this story. The things Danny didn’t know about the small object in his possession were somehow just as intriguing as the many other things he was sure about. After I finished the final paragraph, I sat back and came up with my own theories about the subjects he had partial to no knowledge of. Discovering the limits of Danny’s understanding somehow made him feel both more relatable and more interesting. After all, many of us readers are living with little mysteries every day that we won’t ever fully solve either!
Another memorable thing about this short story was the uneasy relationship between Danny and the narrator who was a reporter who hoped to interview such an important musician. The reporter and Danny both had understandable reasons to be a little wary of each other, so it was rewarding to see them gradually let their guards down and connect with each other as fellow human beings. This was something that was gently hinted at in the first scene, so do keep an eye out for it as the plot progresses.
The Life and Lies of Danny Diaz was a thought-provoking and thrilling read.