The debut installment of author D.D. Marx’s Beyond series promises a story of how a woman’s friend’s death turns her world upside down, she finds corruption in the company for which she works, and finds solace in her cousin’s residence. The writer dedicates her book to individuals named Maddie, Ryan, and Danny, not to mention beloved friends and family that inspired the author to achieve her dreams, along with her mentor. In the prologue, protagonist and first-person narrator Olivia “Hank” Henry acknowledges her addiction to friendship, her family having lived across America, she and her sister attending separate schools, and talks about various friends, love at first sight, and experiences with alcohol.
The first main chapter opens with Olivia’s invitation to a Cougar concert alongside the news of her paternal grandmother’s death. The second chapter introduces the novel’s secondary narrator, Finn McDaniels, a self-described “foodie” in regards to his love for cooking, born in Fife, Scotland on December 16, 1969, and who describes experiences such as a friend falling from a cliff yet surviving, not to mention a love from whom he eventually stopped receiving letters. Both narrators describes the high and low points of their lives, with certain circumstances altering their life experiences, and their paths ultimately crossing.
Overall, this is an excellent start to the Beyond Trilogy that remains fresh throughout with its constant alternation of first-person narrators. The author admits after the main text that she too can be overly-social, and that real-life tragedies inspired some of the book events, with two sequels continuing the story, Beyond Love and Beyond Forever, forthcoming, their predecessor being highly-recommended reading in the end.