A Gritty Tale of Adolescence
4 out of 5 stars
Third Wheel by Richard R. Becker takes us on a nostalgic journey to 1982 Las Vegas, where a young protagonist named Brady Wilks grapples with the complexities of life in a Mob-built town. As a newcomer from Cleveland, Brady’s struggle to find his place in this eccentric 24-hour city forms the heart of the novel.
One of the standout features of Third Wheel is the narration. Brian Callanan truly steals the show, adding depth and emotion to the characters and the story. I’m glad he didn’t try and make Brady into a little kid through his performance – in my opinion, the way he acted wouldn’t have mixed with a childish voice. Their performance enhances the overall experience and makes it highly engaging.
Going into this audiobook with little prior knowledge of the plot, I was pleasantly surprised by the narrative. Becker presents the world through the eyes of “I feel older than 14-year-old” Brady. The portrayal of young love and budding emotions was handled with sensitivity, providing a refreshing contrast to the gritty backdrop of the novel.
The dynamics within the group of “friends” Brady becomes entangled with are expertly crafted, infusing tension and anxiety into each scene. Becker skillfully portrays the complexities of teenage relationships and the way they evolve over time. Also giving us a peek behind the curtain into how kids can get swept up into the seedy underbelly. The “favor” owed by one character adds an intriguing twist to the story, keeping the reader guessing about its ultimate resolution.
One aspect that might divide readers is the book’s ending. The story concludes somewhat abruptly, leaving room for interpretation. While some may find this open-ended approach thought-provoking, others might have preferred a more conclusive resolution. Personally, I wish there had been a bit of a longer epilogue, but I think I get why Becker just ended it.
I didn’t want to devote the time my brain wanted — the one character who stands out, albeit in a negative way, is Brady’s mother. Her actions and behavior make her easily hateable, adding layers of conflict to Brady’s already challenging life. She was a monster and it makes me hope that Brady is able to break the cycle and get away from her as quickly as he can.
Third Wheel is a compelling coming-of-age novel that delves into themes of belonging, betrayal, and forging one’s own path. Richard R. Becker paints a vivid picture of 1982 Las Vegas, and Brady Wilks is a transformative protagonist who navigates this world with resilience. While the audiobook’s narration shines, the open-ended conclusion may leave some readers craving more closure. Despite this, the book is an enjoyable and engaging read, and it effectively captures the complexities of adolescence and the pursuit of identity amidst adversity.
Brady Wilks, a teenage transplant from the Midwest, navigates life in the dusty suburban outskirts of an aberrant 24-hour town built by the Mob. Outcast as a newcomer, Brady forges a brotherly bond with an older teenage neighbor, Mick, and his friend, Brett. But when Brett unexpectedly moves away, Mick invites a new kid into their pack, squeezing out the last remnants of their childhood in favor of a new world laced with cartel-supplied drugs and the deal of a lifetime.
Third Wheel is a powerful novel about belonging, betrayal, and breaking away from paths laid out by others, even when it means grasping at an uncertain future. It is the story of a boy trying to find his identity without the benefit of a role model by taking chances on random and fragile relationships forged in the predawn hours of a future boomtown.
Desolate and gritty, Third Wheel is a triumphant debut novel, and Brady Wilks is remarkable as a transformative protagonist. Four-time award-winning author Richard R. Becker shares his unique insight into the human condition.Third Wheel Narrator: Brian Callanan
Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
Published by Self Published on September 21st 2023
Buy from Audible
- Disease X by N.J. Croft (Narrated by Joshua Saxon) - December 1, 2023
- A Purrfect Gift by Jae (Narrated by Anastasia Watley) - November 30, 2023
- Wraith King (Wraith Knight #3) by C.T. Phipps (Narrated Narrated by Samuel E. Hoke) - November 28, 2023