A gorgeous, fully realized, generously crafted story on male friendship and the deep wounds motivating main character, Michael, as told through the perspective of his intimately effected best friend and business partner, Paul.
Michael is a Vietnam war vet, with a festering secret underscoring his high-living, swaggering behavior. He is a man’s man to his core: streetwise and wary, cocksure and battle-scarred with his own code of honor. It is post-war 1970’s Manitou Springs, Colorado, and author Brain Francis Heffron captivates the reader with such panoramic descriptions of the Pike’s Peak area at such a finely-tuned altitude as to cast the environment as sacred, while the reader all but breathes the clear mountain air.
The title of this book is inspired by Sarah, the wispy and vulnerable single mother at the center of a lover’s triangle, who paints batik images on silk and twists her long flaxen hair in a bun. Michael is protective of Sarah from an unfolding hidden agenda. Paul struggles with the duality of his building feelings for Sarah and loyalty to Michael. In the expert hands of writer Heffron, each character plays off the others with such reasonable impetus, Colorado Mandala reads like a treatise in deep-seated psychological motivation.
This book is astoundingly action-packed and character-driven. It takes the reader into dark caves and sets them in the gambling center of a mountain party’s cockfight. It is seamlessly paced and weaves minute visual images with poetically descriptive narratives and uncommon use of language. I understand Mr. Heffron is a poet, and it shows. There isn’t a weak sentence in the engaging Colorado Mandala, and I held my breath at its end, during one of the best literary denouements I’ve ever read. Colorado Mandala is the very definition of a page-turner. It will make you a fan of author Brian Francis Heffron, and is the kind of book you’ll recommend to your friends.