Shriver by Chris Belden

Chris Belden
Touchstone Books

Shriver is a contented recluse, living in his apartment with a tuxedo cat, Mr. Bojangles, when he receives an invitation to take part in a writers’ conference at a Midwestern college.  

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“. . . pokes gentle satirical fun at the wacky world of writing and writing conferences . . .”

Intrigued to find he’s been mistaken for a famous author, Shriver leaves his apartment for the first time in years and flies to the conference, where he’s subjected to adulation from authors, students and faculty alike – among whom is the delectable Professor Simone Cleverly. Unsure and uncertain, Shriver has to wing his way through the many panels, parties and readings while pretending to know more than he does about his namesake and his work.

Coping with millions of mosquitoes, amorous fans, and the drunken antics of horse-riding Professor T. Wätzczesnam is bad enough, but when another author goes missing, Shriver finds himself subjected to unwelcome scrutiny from the police. Does a mysterious figure in black who seems to be following him everywhere have something to do with it? An impostor pretending to be the real Shriver turns up the heat, until Shriver is on the verge of bolting for home. Only his increasing attraction toward Simone Cleverly keeps Shriver from heading straight for the airport. Can Shriver find his nerve, unmask the impostor, and win Simone’s love?

In Shriver, Chris Belden has an unlikely likable hero who has the reader cheering him on through his misadventure. Belden pokes gentle satirical fun at the wacky world of writing and writing conferences in a book filled with plenty of wit and affection.

Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews