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13 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to Put Down
When I turned the last page of Stephen Parrish's FEASTS OF LESSER MEN, I sat and stared, marveling at what Mr. Parrish had accomplished: I had come to care about his protagonist, the opportunistic, sexist, smug Jimmy Fisher.

Fisher is all of these things, but he is also something else, something more that lurks beneath the surface--honorable? loyal...
Published on March 10, 2012 by Jennifer Zobair

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a lot of virtue in the spy world
Feasts of Lesser Men is an honest portrayal of Cold War espionage, with a more believable plot than one would find in a typical action movie. We don't get the high speed car chases, preposterous fight sequences, fake passports, secret drawers filled with money, or action heroes running around full of bullets and glass that you might find in the rest of the genre...
Published 20 months ago by Andy Bender


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impossible to Put Down, March 10, 2012
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This review is from: The Feasts of Lesser Men (Paperback)
When I turned the last page of Stephen Parrish's FEASTS OF LESSER MEN, I sat and stared, marveling at what Mr. Parrish had accomplished: I had come to care about his protagonist, the opportunistic, sexist, smug Jimmy Fisher.

Fisher is all of these things, but he is also something else, something more that lurks beneath the surface--honorable? loyal? decent?--and the reader will spend no small amount of time trying to discern it. Just when you think he has redeemed himself, he will act without mercy. Just when you think he is irredeemable, he will touch your heart.

FEASTS is a whirlwind of intrigue and double-crossing that forces the reader to fight two competing instincts--the overwhelming desire to turn the page to find out what happens next in the action-packed and fast-moving plot, and the real and pressing need to stop and think about the ethical and philosophical dilemmas at play.

I did not expect to like this book so much, so different from the novels I usually read.

I could not put it down.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Times That Try Men's Souls, February 17, 2012
By 
Sarah Hina (Athens, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Feasts of Lesser Men (Paperback)
Stationed in Germany during the final days of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain, Jimmy Fisher is a Private First Class with the US Army charged with safekeeping his country's top-secret operational plans.

He's also a first-rate scoundrel with a fondness for buried corpses (and their gold fillings), pissing off officers (and sleeping with their daughters), and his favorite neighborhood whore, Melina.

What Fisher lacks in ethics and honor, however, he makes up for in daring and in a sincere, if reluctant, loyalty to his bumbling partner-in-crime, Chuck Cybulski. Soon enough these qualities are turned against him: Fisher is forced to turn spy. As the web of intrigue infiltrates the dark German forest surrounding him and extends its threads into a beatific French countryside, the question of whom Jimmy is betraying becomes ever murkier and more entangled. Can any one country--or any person--really be trusted?

Stephen Parrish is a deft writer and a keen observer of human nature, with a brilliant mastery of detail and verisimilitude. In this book he utilizes all the tools in his arsenal, every color in his artist's palette. It's difficult to make the reader root for a character as nakedly opportunistic as Fisher, but he pulls it off with bold strokes, dark humor, and a bracing authenticity. As a reader, he took me out of my comfort zone and plunged me into a world of shadows and misanthropes, arrested by moments of understated, if exquisite, tenderness and beauty. Jimmy Fisher is not a man built for love; he's not a man who cares a fig about redemption unless it comes on the other end of a wink and a payoff. Parrish gives him a taste of both. Not until the final, shocking scene will the reader decide how much, or how little, Jimmy Fisher has changed, as the snow begins to drop and the curtain falls.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Feasts of Lesser Men, May 21, 2012
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This review is from: The Feasts of Lesser Men (Paperback)
I have recommended this to several friends who agree this author deserves recognition and attention; someone to be noted for future best seller lists. His uncanny ability to provide such accurate information on such diverse subjects makes me wonder about his background and life experience.
The story unravels with such detail that you feel all 5 senses being teased and later satisfied.

Mr. Parrish previously authored THE TAVERNIER STONES which is now on my to read list.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gritty story of the soul, April 30, 2012
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The Feasts of Lesser Men is a book that took me on the first page and kept me going until the last. It is also an unusual book. There is no bombastic plot line that depends on some fake idea that unless the secret code is uncovered the world will be destroyed. Instead, the plot plays out as you might expect it to do if you were living it.
The story centers on James Fischer, a U.S. private - sometime maybe private first class -- who runs scams and gets swept up in a plot to sell the basic U.S. military plan for the defense of Europe during the height of the Cold War. It is a gritty story centered on his character and it is that character that carries the story. Because as the book reveals, no one really knows if the plan is worth it.
The book grabbed me from the start and carried me to the end because of Jimmy. I loved the book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Character Study, February 16, 2012
This review is from: The Feasts of Lesser Men (Paperback)
THE FEASTS OF LESSER MEN is a fascinating character study of a man caught in what seems like a can't-win situation. Author Stephen Parrish does a brilliant job of compelling the reader to care about what happens to the seemingly irredeemable main character, Jimmy Fisher.

While one could call this a cloak-and-dagger tale, this is not a "James Bond with Gadgets" spy novel. Rather, it's a tense-build literary novel about the intricacies of military deception, trust and betrayal. Fans of Parrish will enjoy his complex character building and thoughtful exploration of the fuzzy gray areas called "good" and "evil". Readers can take the novel on a surface level as a book about military intrigue or go deeper into a philosophical examination of human nature. It works well on both levels.

Excellent novel, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Character Study of a Spy, July 29, 2012
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I read this on my Kindle, and I didn't read any of the descriptions of the book beforehand. I had read the author's prior book, The Tavernier Stones, and really enjoyed that so I gave this a go. I'm glad I did, and I'm also glad I avoided a synopsis before reading it because it made the journey more exciting, not knowing what was going to unfold.

The main character is highly flawed, but wildly intriguing. He has a total lack of morals in many regards, but when his sense of compassion for friends and lovers does kick in, it shows a human side to a person motivated by greed. When he's pushed up against the wall, he shows that he does hold some things dear, like his honor, despite the dishonorable positions he has gotten himself into.

This is a spy caper that has realistic elements like a Clancy novel, but it's much smaller in scope; a character study in espionage. It's not without suspense or action, but those scenes come in metered doses and never does the story fall into total bloody shoot-outs and wild chases (although there is gunplay and chasing).

I'm looking forward to Parrish's next book. His writing style is direct when it needs to be and elegant when called for. I enjoy his work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex protagonist steals the show in a thriller set against the hypocrisy/bureaucracy of the U.S. military & Cold War Germany, May 19, 2012
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This review is from: The Feasts of Lesser Men (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It's not a high-wire, Mission Impossible-type thriller. It's more authentic than that. It's the story of a corrupt, street-smart U.S. army private who gets caught up in the games of mid-level spies and counterspies in Cold War Germany. The spies are not after nuclear missile codes or secret weapons. They just want to get their hands on some papers that may or may not be valuable. Private Jimmy Smith has access to the papers, and he thinks he can outsmart the spies and make a bundle in the process. And why shouldn't he think so? He's already shown that he's smarter than his commanding officers when it comes to navigating the hypocrisy and bureaucracy of military life, and he's got the local black market figured out, which provides him with plenty of money to spend at local bars and brothels. But the spies turn out to be more formidable than expected, and Army intelligence may not be as much of an oxymoron as Jimmy thought. In the end, Jimmy's street smarts are tested to their limits. The plot of this book is compelling, but the best part of this novel is Private Jimmy Smith. He's a masterful work of art - a despicable character that we end up liking anyway, in part because he doesn't try to hide his despicable nature. He's also pretty funny at times. And even though he doesn't realize it, he's clearly the underdog in this story. I also loved the spot-on depictions of life in the military, life during the Cold War, and life on the seedier side of a little German town. I highly recommend this novel. I also recommend author Stephen Parrish's previous novel, The Tavernier Stones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not your average spy thriller, June 10, 2013
This review is from: The Feasts of Lesser Men (Paperback)
If you were to combine Catch 22 and Of Mice and Men with a page-turning spy thriller, you might come up with something like The Feasts of Lesser Men, a book that is the perfect mix of dark humor, literary style and page turning action and intrigue.

Private Jimmy Fisher is as flawed as any hero comes. The book opens with him standing in an open grave to steal both gold as well as the corpse to help support his lucrative little side business. He's good at shirking responsibility and upsetting everyone around him, but despite this deep down, he's a good man, and when he is blackmailed into espionage work, readers will find themselves rooting for this antihero as he stakes get higher.

Parrish's second novel is a thrilling and thought-provoking read that is highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good yarn, August 6, 2012
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This was a rambling good read. Enjoyed the depth of characters and was satisfied with the end. WHat more can you want?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable, March 26, 2012
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This review is from: The Feasts of Lesser Men (Paperback)
I am a character man. Sure plot is important but without rich, vivid and memorable characters a story is but one thing ... forgettable.

Mr Parrish has created a novel that is anything but forgettable. Stocked full of well-honed, but certainly flawed characters, the author has created a novel that will quicken your heart as often as it brings a smile to your face. The humor is often subtle and sneaks up on you much in the same manner as your affinity for the main character, Private First Class, but soon-to-be-corporal, Jimmy Fisher. Fisher is not your average protagonist. Matter of fact he would be downright unlikable if you knew only the paper fats of his character, but Mr Parrish gives us, his readers, much more the the bare facts of this rich characters. he gives us the heart and sole of PFC Fisher and in doing so makes us care. The plot is solid and the facts and era are just as well delivered but like all great books it is the characters (not just Fisher, but all of them)that make this a book worthy of your time and money. You will want to read it more than once.
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The Feasts of Lesser Men
The Feasts of Lesser Men by Stephen Parrish (Paperback - February 15, 2012)
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