BOOK REVIEW: The Desire Card by Lee Matthew Goldberg (Thriller)

The Desire Card
Lee Matthew Goldberg

Genre: Crime/Thriller
Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
Date of Publication: February 20, 2019
Number of Pages: 311

Any wish fulfilled for the right price.

That’s the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine. Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live. After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card. THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

This is a gripping thriller that had me hooked from its intense opening sequence! It was incredibly difficult to close the book and look away from the train wreck as things not only start off bad for Harrison, but continue to get so much worse. 

While largely a tale of one man’s quest to determine what it is that he truly desires when life comes to a crash landing, this is certainly a fascinating exploration into the role of the highly unlikeable character! Harrison is repugnant, vile, and self-absorbed. But, the entire cast of characters is just as duplicitous and flawed that as awful as Harrison is, the actions and behaviors of those surrounding him are just as egregious, if not more so. Ultimately, the total disregard to humanity displayed by almost everyone makes you have some empathy for Harrison! The degrees of their unlikeability vary considerably, yet they all leave a bad taste in your mouth. Everyone is making horrible choices when it comes to the seven deadly vices, but gradually, Harrison’s descent stirs the guilt needed for him to reevaluate his life and outlook, striking a hopeful tone towards a whirlwind conclusion. 

“It’d make sense if we have many different paths that might lie ahead based on the kind of person we are. If we’re cruel to others, or if our lives are purely driven by temptation, then our path will be torturous. Maybe not right away, but eventually.”

The author’s writing style is engaging and seamlessly connects the idea of karma throughout, driving us to consider exactly what we would do at every twist and turn of Harrison’s dilemma. This fast-paced story is driven by its frenetic energy that is only further enhanced by the constant juxtaposition of the gritty realism of everyday life to the mysterious and illusive nature of the secret organization behind the Desire Card. The keen descriptive language creates such visual appeal in setting the scene that you’ll often feel as though you’re watching this unfold on the big screen! This imagery adds so many layers to the themes and dynamics expressed during the course of the story.

Compelling, compulsively readable, and I can’t wait for the next ride!

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR (St. Martin’s Press), which was acquired by Macmillan Entertainment with the film in development. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The first two books in a thriller series, THE DESIRE CARD and PREY NO MORE, are forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in winter 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. 

Many thanks to the author and Pump Up Your Blog book tours. It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting. 

And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

Monday, March 4

Book Feature & Tour Kick Off at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Tuesday, March 5

Interview at Pump Up Your Book

Thursday, March 7

Book Featured at What Is That Book About

Friday, March 8

Book Featured at CBY Book Club

Monday, March 11

First Chapter Reveal at The Dark Phantom Reviews

Wednesday, March 13

Guest Blogging at Christine’s Book Corner

Monday, March 18

Book Teaser Featured at PUYB Book Teasers

Thursday, March 21

Guest Blogging at The Pulp and Mystery Bookshelf

Friday, March 22

Interview at Literarily Speaking

Monday, March 25

Book Featured at C.A. Milson’s Author Blog

Thursday, March 28

Book Featured at Book Bloggin’ Princess

Monday, April 1

First Chapter Reveal at Beyond the Books

Tuesday, April 2

Interview at Blogger News Net

Thursday, April 4

Book Featured at Stacking My Bookshelves

Monday, April 8

Book Review at Books for Books

Tuesday, April 9

Interview at The Dark Phantom Reviews

Thursday, April 11

Guest Blogging at Dear Reader, Love Author

Monday, April 15

Book Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Friday, April 19

Book Review at Sefina Hawke’s Books

Monday, April 22

Book Featured at T’s Stuff

Wednesday, April 24

Book Featured at Fundinmental

Friday, April 26

Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Monday, May 6

Book Featured at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, May 7

Book Featured at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, May 8

Book Featured at Stacking My Bookshelves

Monday, May 13

Character Guest Blogging at I’m Into Books

Thursday, May 16

Book Review at StoreyBook Reviews

Monday, May 20

First Chapter Reveal at I’m Shelf-ish

Friday, May 24

Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Monday, May 27

Interview at SheWrites

Friday, May 31

Book Feature at The Literary Nook

Monday, June 3

First Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn

Tuesday, June 4

Book Featured at Nuttin’ But Books

Wednesday, June 5

Interview at A Blue Million Books

Monday, June 10

Interview at I’m Shelf-ish

Tuesday, June 11

Interview at Book Cover Junkie

Thursday, June 13

Book Review at That’s What She’s Reading

Monday, June 17

Interview at As the Pages Turn

Friday, June 21

Interview at The Literary Nook

Monday, June 24

Book Featured at The Bookworm Lodge

Friday, June 28

Interview at The Avid Reader

Monday, July 1

First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter

Tuesday, July 2

Book Featured at My Book Launch

Wednesday, July 3

Interview at My Bookish Pleasures

Monday, July 8

Character Guest Post at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, July 10

Interview at Beyond the Books

Monday, July 15

Interview at Nuttin’ But Books

Tuesday, July 16

Interview at The Writer’s Life

Monday, July 22

Book Featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Friday, July 26

Character Interview at Pimp That Character

Monday, July 29

Interview at Blogging Authors

Wednesday, July 31

Guest Blogging at That’s What She’s Reading

Monday, August 5

Guest Blogging at Write and Take Flight

Tuesday, August 6

Interview at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Wednesday, August 7

Book Featured at Hooked From Page One

Monday, August 12

Interview at Book Publishing Secrets

Wednesday, August 14

Book Featured at What’s On Your Kindle?

Monday, August 19

Interview at Book Bloggin’ Princess

Tuesday, August 20

Guest Blogging at Straight From the Author’s Mouth

Monday, August 26

Book Review at Novel Gossip

Wednesday, August 28

Character Guest Post at That’s What She’s Reading

Friday, August 30

Book Featured at What the Cat Read


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