The Long Road From Perdition by J.R. Stone

“…It was then that I realized that my lonely childhood had come to a reverberating halt. This moment in time would forever be seared into my psyche, destined to become part of the psychological baggage that I would carry upon my shoulders for the rest of my life. That was how I spent my thirteenth birthday.”

I picked up The Long Road From Perdition with much interest given the story summary and I was not disappointed. In this novel author J.R. Stone has written a moving tale of the life of Nicholas Fontenot, a precocious yet sensitive teenager who lives in an abusive home and is suddenly thrust into a dangerous world, which he must navigate on his own.

On his thirteen birthday, Nicholas witnesses a horrific murder and his world is torn apart. Abandoned by his remaining family he becomes a ward of the state while awaiting news on whether he’ll be charged for the crime he witnessed, but did not commit. He is forced into the foster care system where he experiences even more misery, abuse and danger until he escapes at the age of fifteen. Nicholas draws his strength to persevere and seek a better life for himself from his older brother and protector Josh who is always with him in spirit.

On his journey to find safety, Nicholas meets a kindred spirit in Charley, a drag queen and owner of an off the beaten path gay bar in New Orleans. Charley and a host of colourful characters that work in the bar become Nicholas’ extended family. Yet, his troubled past continues to haunt him until he is tragically forced to leave Charley and New Orleans the only happy home he has ever known. Nicholas’ road from hell and his journey to find peace and his place in the world is a long and difficult one.

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