Reviews of Darren M. Jorgensen's "Finding Max"

When I tell you that Finding Max is an incredible book and you should read it, it probably means nothing to you. I am the writer. Of course, I am biased. So take the words below as your guide in this. Let these readers tell you what they thought about Finding Max. Then maybe you will believe one of us...

Cover art for Finding Max
Cover art for Finding Max by Pete Kaminski, of Creators Publications. He did a wonderful job, methinks.

Lindsey Kramer - It was brilliantly written and heartbreaking and beautiful.

This book was unexpected. The story was very human. It was brilliantly written and heartbreaking and beautiful.

Sarah Bowman - An engrossing thriller that left me wondering about the characters.

An engrossing thriller that left me thinking about the characters even when I was away from the book. The author clearly has insight into the psychological impact of many different kinds of trauma. He helps us see the lasting legacy of poverty, violence, and abandonment as we peek into the brains of the protagonists. They are noble and honest in their struggles, and throughly likeable -- which is why I kept wondering how they were doing between readings. The ending leaves several loose strings that beg for a sequel... looking forward to continuation of Max's story!

Patrice Leonard - 5 out of 5 stars!

This was heartbreaking, action-packed, and creepy all rolled into one! Great idea for a story, I was sucked in from page one. The main characters, Max and Gary, were so well fleshed out that I felt like I knew them for my whole life. This story will get to you, it will crawl under your skin and stick with you for a really long time. Can't recommend this one enough!

Elsa Verschuur - 5 out of 5 stars!

I have not read a book like this, with raw emotion, open, honest, brutal and still tender, in quite a while. I was nauseated, filled with rage, smiling, crying and at one stage praying to God that the abuse in this world would stop. That poverty, homelessness, illness and rejection would stop. I don't think it will. Finding Max is not easy to read. The author deals with brutality and beauty very realistically. He doesn't pull punches. So this is not a fairy tale or a romcom. This is serious stuff. Having said that, don't let that stop you. I implore you to read this. Even if you are gagging, remember that somewhere, someone is going through hell and spare a kind thought for their damaged hearts and souls. I sincerely hope many, many men read this book. This is about men. Kind, generous men, evil men, strong men, damaged men. And two paths, as always. You can decide whether you follow the right road or the wrong road. Only you can make that decision. Gus did. And Quinn did too. Gary also had to make a choice - the difference between good and evil is love. Gary chose love. Eventually. As for Max....well now. I'm certainly not going to tell all! I suggest you read this because I think there's a Max in all of us who wants to be found. Thank you Mr Jorgensen. We have to be reminded ever so often that there's a parallel world we don't know much about, and we should educate ourselves, and offer comfort where we can. Thank you for writing this, and thank you for the future books you will write. I hope all of them shows readers hope in the desolation we live in. Brilliant stuff. I received a copy of this book, and whether I buy or find a book for free, I try to leave a review for every book I read.

Anna Green - A dark and gritty tale not for the faint hearted.

I read this book blind, jumped straight into it thinking it was going to be one of those psychological thrillers, my second favourite genre. But I was wrong because this book dealt with a lot of darker issues about homelessness and sexual abuse which I found at times, disturbing. This is definitely not one for the faint-hearted.

There are three main characters in this story. Max is the younger brother who was kidnapped when he was five years old. Gary is the older brother who was supposed to look after Max when they were at the park playing and witnessed his brother’s abduction. Then along comes Jean who comes from a conservative Chinese family and was thrown out by her parents because of her rebellious attitude. Her presence creates a strong impact on both brothers in such a short time they have known each other.

Max as a twenty-two-year-old homeless person is a complex personality, vulnerable at times but also a resilient young man. Gary’s survivor's guilt complex impacted his future and his choice of career. He is in some ways also a damaged soul, blaming himself for what happened to his little brother.

The author did very well in creating characters one can empathize with and their horrific experiences make one’s skin crawl. The portrayal of homelessness and sexual abuse is very informative and explicit that makes it an uncomfortable read. I felt that there were one or two mundane topics that were discussed needlessly and wasn’t relevant to the story. I initially thought this book was a standalone and I was miffed because the epilogue left a lot of unanswered questions. It was only when I did some research that I found out this is book one of a trilogy. Et voila, everything makes sense now! Be warned though, this dark and gritty tale contains some triggers. I’m not sure if I will be ready for the next book although I’d like to know what happens next with Max, Gary and Jean. We shall have to wait and see.

Dawn Ireland - A powerful read.

Finding Max by Darren Jorgensen is a powerful read about two brothers, five and eight. Their lives are just this side of hell with their drunken, abusive mother when you assume nothing could get worse. But life drops them down the hatch right into hell. Max is abducted.

Seventeen years pass. Gary has spent every minute of those years blaming himself for his little brother’s disappearance and presumed death. But Gary has never given up hope that Max is out there somewhere.

As Fate should have it, Max walks into the shelter where Gary is a social worker. The details of Max’s nightmare struggle come out. Gary questions the validity of the story until Quinn, Max’s nightmare, shows up.

Gary, and his new girlfriend, Jean, try to protect Max and help him. Now, all three are in danger from Quinn. Jean reaches out to Gus, a “neighborhood protection” thug, for help. Things almost don’t turn out the way you’d expect. Warning! This book includes horrifying details of child abduction. You’ll be furious and angry about the deviant society right outside your door. I’m waiting for book 2.

Marie - Jorgensen brings a personal light to a dark subject.

This is an unusual book for me to review because I was unable to finish it because of the sexual content. Yet, I found the book's theme to be so powerful that I thought it would be important to convey that information to those of you who have more tolerance for sexual content than me.

The two main characters of this book are Max and Gary, brothers who are initially separated by tragedy. Max is interesting because of his circumstances. He is a physically broken man trying to find healing alongside his brother, spooked by his own ghosts of the past. Gary is another broken man, but emotionally, for his mistakes in the past. He tries to make up for those things by immersing himself in education and social work, but neither of those things truly bring him healing. Both characters, with their interactions, show two sides of a coin that is a reality within our society: homelessness and the workers who combat the issue.

I think that's why I found this book so fascinating. Prostitution, Anorexia, Homelessness, Drugs, and Abuse are all real problems in our society and Darren Jorgensen brings a personal light to a dark subject. His writing brings us inside the minds of those dealing with these issues and tells the truth about the circumstances of such sad situations. He delicately touches on each subject, examining each in the light of the people who live within them. He helps readers feel the heart beating behind the dirt covered face.

I am seeking to work with women who are facing crisis pregnancies, and part of my training was the fact that we are stepping into the "muck" of their situation to help them find hope in the midst of their problems. I think that is what Darren Jorgensen seeks to do with his story-walk in the mud so that everyday people can understand it and find a way out to normal ground.

So, if you are willing to read the sexual content, then this book will give you that light and insight into a people that live among us, struggling to survive.