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First thing to say, this is the first book I’ve read in one sitting for a long time. This includes poetry books. The book was compelling enough that I read it straight through over the course of three hours. I found some parts of the book were funny, some parts of the book were sweet.
The basics: Mark Layton is an everyman with Sherlockian deductive powers. He seems shy and withdrawn at the beginning, but for some reason gains the kind of courage and self assurance necessary to talk to the girl of his dreams, Alicia.
Essentially, this is a superhero story without being a superhero story. Mark has the power to melt fat and tighten skin of anyone. He charges money for the service at first, but in benevolence, he makes the trek to Wisconsin to melt a 900 lb man for free so he can live a better life. This is just one example of Mark’s superhero incorruptibility, another is the second person he melts (after his now wife, Alicia), Sheila, becomes obsessed with him.
Mark takes on almost a martyr quality and the audience is intended to follow along with him, in his shoes, possibly portraying the best possible outcome on purpose to give the audience a bit of hope in their lives, that beauty is deeper than skin.