Galen is political. Galen is fed up. Galen is a blackmailer. Brand is a jerk who has money. He had an affair and Galen found out. Now Brand has new problems. A criminal and self-styled Robin Hood, Galen must face down a ruthless enemy who does not share his ideological limitations. In the footsteps of Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang, The Brand Demand follows a group of political activists who strike at the system with cunning and guile while getting rich doing it. Galen takes risks and money, but when his plans go awry, he quickly learns that politics are no substitute for wits. Galen has to come to grips with his own boundaries of action and love while running for his life in Southern Utah. He has to stay under the radar, dodging skinheads and corporate moguls, Latter-day Saints romance writers and cheating husbands and—of course and always—the authorities.
Johnny Worthen is an award-winning, best-selling author of books and stories. A Utah Writer of the Year. Trained in modern literary criticism and cultural studies, he writes upmarket multi-genre fiction, symbolized by his love of tie-dye and good words. “I write what I like to read,” he says. “This guarantees me at least one fan.”
Johnny is best known (so far) for his award winning, nationally acclaimed, best-selling young adult novel, ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN. It is a great book and if you haven’t read it, you need to. Johnny’s debut novel, the adult occult thriller, BEATRYSEL along with its companion story DR. STUART’S HEART explores the darker sides of love and Magick.
CELESTE, THE UNSEEN BOOK 2, continues Eleanor’s story as she tries to maintain a life in Jamesford, while distant events and local suspicion conspire to threaten everything. DAVID, THE UNSEEN BOOK 3, sees the powerful transformative conclusion of this awarding series as Eleanor learns her past and builds her future.
Johnny’s entry into mystery with THE BRAND DEMAND won a Silver Quill Award from the League of Utah Writers in the best novel category, while, his genre-bending comedy noire, THE FINGER TRAP, introduces Tony Flaner, a flawed slacker every-man detective who can’t throw a punch but can slay a room with sarcasm.
Johnny's short stories appear in a number of anthologies including the Dark Fiction LITTLE VISIBLE DELIGHT (The Point), Utah Horror, OLD SCRATCH AND OWL HOOTS (Keep Sweet), IT CAME FROM THE GREAT SALT LAKE (May 15th), Utah Fantasy, SECRETS & DOORS (A Thousand Secret Doors), HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT (The Lost Curse of the Witch's Nest) and the limited edition commemorate Salt Lake Comic Con anthology HEROIC: TALES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY (The Grape Whisperer).
Johnny lectures and teaches about writing and life whenever anyone will listen. He edits professionally for Omnium Gatherum, a dark fiction press. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife, sons and a cat.
Overall, it’s an interesting story: A blackmailer starts a blackmail job that doesn’t go quite as planned and ends up running from dangerous dudes while also trying to solve the mystery of what just went wrong.
My big issue is that the MC, Galen, is such an insufferable prat. He is close-minded, intolerant, and judgmental—everything he claims he hates about everyone else. If I didn’t personally know Johnny, I’d have been very offended by Galen. I kept hoping there would be a twist at the end where he ends up in prison forever or something, but he just keeps on being the hero of the story.
CW: moderate strong language and sexual content. It also needs some serious copy editing.
Galen considers himself somewhat of a Robin Hood of blackmailers. He and his team find targets that are doing bad things and then blackmail them with an amount that would hopefully make them reconsider their ways. The book starts off with collecting from a Bishop who was having a relationship with a underage girl. From there we meet Galen's crew and get into his next target that he has planned.
Unfortunately for Galen and crew the next target is Robert Brand. Brand is the son in law of a big businessmen who seems to be an easy target but things turn out a lot differently than expected. Brand turns up missing and from there on out it's one action packed adventure. Galen meets Brand's ex-step daughter Bonnie and ends up falling for her as the pair tries to uncover just what Brand had been involved in before they end up in jail for his disappearance themselves.
The book started a little slow for me but once it got going it turned out to be a great read. The ending was somewhat completely unexpected after all the twists getting there. As soon as you think you know who or what is going on there's another angle tossed into the mixed.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. Excellent story. I read it in one afternoon. I couldn't put it down. Galen is a blackmailer. He doesn't want to physically hurt anyone, he just wants to get a small measure of justice (monetary) and warn his victims from any further illegal activity.He lives his life under the radar, not too lavishly or loudly not calling any kind of unwarranted attention to himself or his cronies. Then he tries to get some of his blackmailing "justice" from Robert Brand, son in law of Zachary Carson, one of the richest, most powerful and corrupt businessmen in Utah. Along the way he ends up falling in love with Brand's stepdaughter Bonnie, and runs into New Jersey mobsters and corrupt rangers. He ends up above the radar and now the law is aware of him and Bonnie, and they are suspects in Brand's murder. There are many unexpected twists and turns to this book, that I don't want to reveal as spoilers. You just need to get the book and read it!
Johnny contacted me and asked if I would read his book and review it. The description interested me so I said yes. I'm SO glad I did. I was sucked into the story with the first couple paragraphs and didn't come up for breath for several hours. Johnny does a fantastic job weaving a story that keeps the reader guessing about what is going to happen, how people are connected and how people are going to act. I kept thinking a revelation was going to happen for different characters that you weren't currently seeing.
Is this person good? Are they really bad? What really happened to Richard. Johnny does a great job of making the reader guessing what is really going on and doesn't reveal anything until the end. I had a really hard time putting this story down and wanted to know what was happening with the characters.
If you like intrigue, suspense and a little bit of humor thrown in, then pick up this book. You will not be disappointed.
Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is the first book I have read by the author and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Galen is a blackmailer who works with a team to extort money from Robert Brand when his plans go awry. Now Galen is on the run. This was a fun and fast paced suspense with interesting characters and plot twists . I hope the author has more plans for Galen and his team! 4.5 stars
I loved this book and couldn't put it down. The twists and turns the story took kept me guessing right to the end. I could relate to the main character's ideology though I'm not too sure on the penalties he demands from some. I was so glad that a physically imperfect (in his eyes)person found true, reciprocated love.
The main downside for me was such a little thing, it's the name Galen. It's probably an idiosyncrasy of my own but I am always left feeling unsatisfied if I am unsure as to how to pronounce a character's name. It may just be that I am a Brit reading a novel based in America where Galen may be a very popular name, but as with some of the language and especially the descriptions of the local scenery one comes to realise that even though both nations speak English, the other country's version can sometimes be a foreign language. Thank goodness for Google! Even though I have finished the book I would still appreciate a phonetic spelling of Galen, is it Gale-n or Gal-en? Either way I thoroughly recommend this book and I for one will be looking out for other books written by Johnny Worthen.
3.5 stars that I rounded up to a solid 4 because I couldn't put it down and had a satisfying ending that I didn't see coming. The opening pages had me thinking this was going to be a book about religion but in fact it is not. This is a tale reminiscent of Robin Hood where unsavory deeds are done to punish those who deserve it. The main character, Galen, is a blackmailer who punishes otherwise unpunished deeds under the guise of anonymity. The story begins as one demand is ending and another is beginning. When he stumbles upon a more sinister plot than he first believed, the stakes and the action escalate. I loved that this book is set in Utah and had recognizable politics and locations woven into the story. Bravo! This is the third book I've read by this author in all different genres proving he is a well-rounded and talented writer. I look forward to reading more from him!
Galen Reed is a likable anti-hero to who gets on over his head. His largest scheme is a page turner. His concern for his cohorts is relatable. And its fun to watch him think he's got the perfect plan to realizing its all much bigger than he could imagine. Throw in a formulaic romance and your entertained all the way through.
Mr. Worthen's sarcasm and wit are on point along with his knowledge of the locations. Making him a favorite author to read over and over again.
I received an ebook copy of The Brand Demand from the author himself, Johnny Worthen in exchange for an honest review.
While the main character, Galen, started off seeming a bit ‘nerdy’ with his obsession with computer games, his recluse type of lifestyle and his Robin Hood and his merry team type blackmailing (steal from the rich and wicked and give to the poor or good and deserving causes) he emerged as a very interesting and dynamic personality. Gradually his background emerges while he is in the middle of a blackmail of Robert Brand which goes wrong but leads him to meet Bonnie, who is also an unusual character, and with both of them having to deal with a whole lot of trouble! The story is unusual but also very exciting as it takes many different twists and turns. I was never quite sure where the story was going to next and in the end didn’t want to stop reading to find out …what next!!!??? Johnny Worthen has an easy to read style of writing and his characters are interesting and well developed. This was a fun and exciting story to read.
How do you review a book written by a friend, other than to say, "It's fantastic! Everyone should read it!" Well, I told Johnny about some very minor issues I found. Some are editing. Others are writing, but so common that many writers would make the same mistakes. I won't point them out to you. I'll just say, this book had me going. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. While I did figure out part of the big mystery, some of it was not expected. I can see lots of Johnny in this book. His humor, his style, and his personality. But you don't need to know Johnny to enjoy it. I'll just say, buy this book, sit back, and enjoy a great mystery.
This book wasn't what I was expecting. The story follows the failed attempt at blackmailing Robert Brand, son-in-law of Calson, the richest man in Utah. Galen, left wing eco-warrior, Likes to research his victims, unfortunately there isn't time with Brand.
The Story follows Galen trying to figure out what went wrong and where Robert Brand went, introducing characters and tangents as it goes.