"Down From Ten is a brilliant, sometimes creepy take on a bohemian cozy with surreal underpinnings and an irrepressibly touching ending." -Gail Carriger, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Parasol Protectorate series
J. Daniel Sawyer is a hat-wearing, obsessive-compulsive nutcase attempting to write his way out of the loony bin. He's the author of numerous fiction podcasts including Sculpting God, Down From Ten, and The Antithesis Progression (which earned him a spot as a 2009 Parsec Finalist). Lacking in personal qualities things that make for respectable character (such as the ability to sit still and shut up), he's forced to channel his lack of decorum into the fields of photography, a/v production, and writing for outfits like LinuxJournal and the occasional speculative fiction anthology.
When not working on his new secret steampunk fantasy adventure or getting into other mischief, he can be heard hosting the skeptical salon The Polyschizmatic Reprobates Hour, and as the narrator of Free Will, book two of The Antithesis Progression, both available through http://www.jdsawyer.net.
This is one of the hardest books for me to properly categorize and describe, it is also one of great ones.
First off, this book is not for children. There are sexually scenes. I don't seek out books with sexual themes, but everything worked together to make "Down From Ten" what it is.
The ensemble of characters and the way they interact is what truly makes this book. They discuss art, cooking, religion, psychology, sex, and more in a way that is fascinating and true to those characters. At the same time, the author is not preachy in his handling of these issues. It is about interesting people being interesting.
Oh, and there is a mystery. A truly frustrating (in the best possible way) element of the story is the mystery of 'what just is going on here?'. And we readers stay in the dark until the end. No spoilers here, you will just have to experience it for yourself.
I experienced it for the first time as an audio drama that was produced by the author, and I had to wait between episodes. I highly recommend seeking out that audio book, the voice actors are brilliant with this intriguing material. But I'd prefer that you buy the book first and put some coin into this author's pocket.
I interviewed J. Daniel Sawyer for my podcast; he is one of the most intelligent and congenial people I've interviewed. This story is the kind that only someone like Dan can create.
I read this based on a recommendation from another author, Nathaniel Lowell, who also happened to do the voice for one of the characters in the audio version of this story. Lowell owes me a new story for recommending this one. The write ups talked about the clever twist at the end. Unfortunately, the twist could be seen less than halfway through the book. The rather compressed emotional roller coaster at the end just was not believable and neither were many of the actions of the characters after foreshadowing events earlier in the story. I will try another Sawer story some time, and you should too, but you should take a pass on this one unless you really need filler while snowed in.
What should have been the story of the yearly reunion of friends becomes someting way more powerful and scary. This story is so addictive that I grows roots into your gut and won't let you go until its surprising ending. I've read or listened to it many times now and it feels like a new story every time. I can't recommend it enough.
I read Down From Ten at the suggestion of a friend: NOT my usual genre! It starts off reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians: a small house party gets trapped in a house out in the boondocks and frightening things begin to happen. But believe me when I assure you that Dame Agatha never saw THIS coming! If you like super creepy, mind-jerking, envelope-pushing fiction, this is the book for you. I do not! I kept putting it down because it was creeping me out and I was experiencing a lot of anxiety. A few days or a week later I'd pick it up again because it was so intriguing, compelling. As I said, not at all my normal read. Finally I accosted my friend and made him spoil it for me, asked him a bunch of questions which he reluctantly but good-naturedly answered, and, reassured, I was able to finish the book with a great deal of enjoyment. The story is beautifully knit, and all the pieces come together at the end in a satisfying manner. This author sure knows how to draw out the suspense and build tension. Boy does he ever!