I was hesitant to pick this one up. I liked the description well enough. Lyle Powers, a young men stuck in a rut after his last break-up, has the opportunity to be more and start over when he's send to Kansas by his boss. Reluctant and pessimistic as he might be in the beginning, his new life starts to grow on him. Especially after he starts seeing more of Roger, a recovering alcoholic desperately trying to walk the straight and narrow - literally - in order to be able to see his daughter on a more or less regular basis.
These two are not exactly easy characters and I was looking forward to reading about their development. But. And this is a pretty big but: I was disappointed after finishing the story. I've read The Wizard of Oz
, so it was nice to understand the little allusions here and there. On the other hand the whole theme seemed to be pulled off half-heartedly. You either do it constantly and throw in references in all kinds of situations - which was what I expected because of the title and all; or you only use it as some kind of frame. In this story it felt like it was somewhere in the middle of that. There was something there, but it was too much for the one, and not enough for the other.
Another problem for me was the writing. I knew beforehand that Andrew Grey isn't exactly and 100% my kind of author. But I had this book on my TBR-pile for a while now, and I wanted to use it for my "Around the country"-Challenge. In the end though, I had to admit defeat. Even though I was interested in the story to a degree, it just didn't grab me. The dialogues didn't really flow, felt rather stilted at times. In general, the writing didn't feel natural to me. Some phrases made me cringe, because I was always thinking that nobody would talk like that, or say things like that while keeping a straight face. Some of the "emotional revelations" and inner musings felt absolutely out of sync. In some books even that kind of writing can work for me, but here it just never clicked. Also, the villains were way too one-dimensional for my taste. No layers, no explanations for their "over-villain-ness", everything black and white. A reference to the Wizard? I don't think so. All in all, the whole book felt too flat, too "simple" and too unnatural in writing and pacing for me to really enjoy it.