The Nexus was an engaging book, and one I will enjoy reading again. Sykes is a remarkable, pleasant fellow; suffering from dreams that retell past. The sci-fi, suspenseful plot kept me reading until the end. He story flowed smoothly but at a fast clip, keeping the mystery alive. 

                   -Pamela Craft Jenewein

The Nexus was my first GoodReads "FirstRead" free book. It's a science-fiction novel set in contemporary New York, speckled with bits of metaphysics, conspiracy, and danger.

The main character, Balthazar Sykes, embarks on a personal quest to discover what is going on with his mind, leading him to discover how he became the way he his while building stronger relationships. The quest is experienced through the eyes of many characters. The antagonists' point-of-view is revealed in a few segments, quite effectively giving the shadowy insights that tease the reader until resolved later.

A few of the characters such as Sykes' love interest, Alex, and co-worker Madge,  develop to be well-rounded. Others do not get quite the same development time out of necessity: helpful side-characters for lack of importance; antagonists to avoid ruining the suspense.

The story's epilogue works quite well in closing the few open ends left. It is just the right length of story, both in terms of book size and timelines. You get just enough in terms of introducing characters as events begin to unfold, and not too much after the resolution, just bits of closure regarding relationships.

                                         -Thomas Harning
On those occasions when I have read sci-fi, I've tended to stick to the familiar brand-name authors; tried-and-true old favorites such as Asimov, Bester, Bradbury, Clarke, Dick, Heinlein, Norton, Silverberg, Williamson and the like. But a recent perusal of new author Richard Fazio's debut novel, 2011's "The Nexus," has demonstrated that I really ought to be adventurous more often. Sporting a title suggestive of those darn "Matrix" films--and, of course, the kozmik whatzit at the center of "Star Trek Generations"--"The Nexus" is rather a completely fresh tale that is winningly spun out by this tyro writer. In the book's intriguing prologue, a mother and father give the OK for a government medical unit to perform experiments on their unborn child, way back in the year...1969. Flash forward to today, and we meet a middle-aged man with the unlikely handle of Balthazar Sykes. Sykes lives in the Forest Hills region of NYC and works in a Manhattan ad agency; in what capacity (copywriter? ad exec? art director?) the author never tells us. Sykes' life takes a decided turn into the realm of the bizarre when he starts experiencing the thoughts of others, sensing their subconscious fears, and actually inhabiting their bodies! A visit to a Greek gypsy woman named Madame Travatsky (an homage, perhaps, to the notorious 19th century spiritualist Madame Blavatsky?) reveals that Sykes is nothing less than a "nexus," or "someone with the ability to establish psychic ties between people, between things, between times." And Sykes' problems are only beginning, when the Feds get wind of their old subject's nascent abilities....

In this book's capsule biography of its author, it is revealed that Fazio was a native New Yorker, and man, does it ever show! His knowledge of Forest Hills (near where I live) and the NYC subway system is much in evidence; for this reader, charmingly so. Fazio has peopled his first novel with a cast of interesting characters, including a pair of Goth cyber hackers; Madge Macleary, Sykes' feisty, older coworker; and, most especially, Alex, Sykes' partner, boyfriend and lover. And here I may as well mention that those readers who may be concerned about the novel's gay subject matter should not be; the relationship between Sykes and Alex is handled with both sensitivity and restraint by the author. It is a perfectly sweet relationship, in fact, in which both men are shown to be the other's best friend. Alex is responsible for much of the novel's humor--he's something of a cutup--never more so than when he declares that the word "nexus" " sounds like a shampoo to me." Fazio tells his story with great sweep--the book really does move along--and with its brief-chapter format, really keeps the reader flipping those pages. I read "The Nexus" while on a plane and subsequent ocean cruise and found it the perfect accompaniment. I was truly sorry to see it end...especially since my cruise still had a few days to go. The book certainly does leave open the possibility for sequels, and I for one hope that Fazio is plotting those sequels out right now. His initial work is not perfect--there are some instances of faulty grammar here and there, and more typos than any book should have (granted, these are more faults of the book's copy editor and proofreader than of the author)--but it sure is impressive. (I must also confess that a scene that I had been hoping for--Sykes confronting his estranged parents about their willingness to accept money for the government to monkey around with the Balthazar fetus--is never given us by the author; maybe in one of those sequels?) Fast moving, unpredictable, at times psychedelic and always gripping and suspenseful, "The Nexus" is the product of a fine new talent on the sci-fi scene. And really, can any book that puts down the Suffolk County Police Department be all bad?!?!
                                             -Sandy Ferber

 This debut from San Francisco novelist Richard Fazio is a most formidable piece of work. A young, gay New York City ad man discovers that he has psychic and extra-human powers, and his search for their origins lead him to dangerous places; most ominously, links to certain Secret Government Agencies.

It's altogether a thrill ride that will appeal to fans of gay-oriented fiction (albeit tastefully non-explicit), as well as fans of science fiction featuring gay characters. Ultimately, though, THE NEXUS is a worthy read for anyone whose primary preference is for a tale of paranormal intrigue with an engaging and believable cast, snappy dialogue and a nonstop, compulsive page-turning momentum.

With only two books to his credit thus far, Richard Fazio is already shaping up to be a quality fiction writer and fantasist; one genuinely deserving of a wider audience.  

                          -Fog City Mike

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