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Mel king

Mel King Updated June 17, 2015


Mel king

Author Details

Pen Name
Mel king
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A STICKY BUSINESS is a fact-based novel into which the author inserted two fictional protagonists so as to raise a question that is the theme of the novel. A young priest in Boston witnesses a tragic incident in which several blocks are destroyed and many righteous are killed or injured. He begins a quest to learn why God permitted such a disaster to befall innocent people while two Mafia Dons lead long and prosperous lives. His attorney-friend gathers evidence and prosecutes those he believes are responsible for the incident. They ultimately reach different conclusions as to the priest's quest. The 14 fact-based short stories begin with the story of a poor boy from Brooklyn who moves West, becomes a famous lawman, only to have his career shattered when secrets from his distant past are revealed.He dies a pauper, his achievements forgotten. The other creative nonfiction stories range from an Olympic athlete who achieves a glorious but costly victory, to the journalist who gets a killer scoop.
Mel King is a graduate of Bates College and Harvard Law School, a former Law Professor at a California Law School, who retired after 45 years as a successful trial attorney and began writing. This is his second published book, which he was inspired to write after being diagnosed with incurable cancer of the bone marrow and contemplating whether there is an after-life.

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An Inquiry – A review of the novel ‘A Sticky Business’
“The sun doesn't just hang on one family's tree” - Anchee Min

Author Mel King’s ‘A Sticky Business’ is a two-part book containing a novel and also a collection of short stories. The novel is in fact a fictional uptake on a real life event that happened in North End, Boston in 1919. A great tragedy that claimed numerous human lives forms the backdrop for the story where the author’s two fictional protagonists try and find out if it was god or man that caused the accident. In the short stories, the author brings to light slightly fictionalized versions of amazing feats and lives of highly intriguing men and women from our history.

Part one covers about 3/4ths of the book and it contains the novel part of the book. But then this isn’t a novel in the strictest sense of the word either. The author basically retells a tragic event that occurred in 1919 in Boston when a storage tank containing molasses burst and killed 21 people and injured 150 more in the subsequent flooding and force of the explosion. But he uses this as a plot device to explore two key themes. Mainly, the greed and profit oriented business mentality of big corporations that pay scant regard to human lives and environment. Secondly and more importantly, he questions why a righteous god would allow such a tragedy to befall innocent victims while the criminals and sinners get to live unaffected by this act. This issue is further extrapolated by employing two fictional characters in a catholic priest and an attorney who are both in their own ways trying to find the culprit responsible for this tragedy.

It’s interesting to note how the author has chosen to handle these themes through his protagonists. In the beginning the young catholic priest is shown to be very much in conflict with the teachings of the church. While he doesn’t question the existence of a god, he simply cannot digest the explanations provided by the church to justify god’s action or rather inaction. Whereas the attorney doesn’t pin the blame on god, mainly because he doesn’t believe in the existence of such a personal god and believes that all tragic events can be attributed to bad luck and the selfish and nefarious behavior of a few individuals. The various discussions between them, right from the start to the big finale at the end not only reveals more about these characters but it also opens up interesting, thought-provoking and timely discussions in our minds. And like all good teachers/philosophers, the author doesn’t spoon feed us the answer and asks us to arrive at our own conclusions.

The multiple short stories in the second part of the book also serve a dual purpose. They bring to light a few individual’s amazing feats, whose life stories have somehow remained in obscurity in our collective pop-culture consciousness. Secondly they also discuss themes of luck/supernatural influence in one’s life and questions why certain things happen to certain people and not everyone.

A Sticky Business is less of a novel and more of a seasoned writer’s observations and personal thoughts into an age-old philosophical dilemma that he tries to reignite by using fictional characters centered around factual events.
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