Moss by Joe Pace Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

After his father passes away, a struggling writer who spent his life in his successful father’s shadow finds his late dad’s unpublished work, and must struggle with whether to use it to launch his own career while learning more about his father’s past in author Joe Pace’s “Moss”.


The Synopsis 

Isaiah Moss was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. His illegitimate son Oscar Kendall wasn’t. Living in Isaiah’s inescapable shadow, Oscar has become an inveterate quitter who hides his own literary work from the world rather than suffer the pain of failure or rejection.

But when Isaiah suddenly dies, Oscar inherits the old man’s lakefront writing cabin in New Hampshire. There he finds his father’s typewriter, a full liquor cabinet, and an unpublished manuscript of such genius that it could launch Oscar’s career if he claims it as his own.

But as Oscar wrestles with his own twisted inspirations, he meets the women in Isaiah’s life and begins to learn the depths of his father’s secrets…and the costs that come with unresolved trauma and romantic delusion.

The Review

This was a truly profound and moving read. The author did an incredible job of crafting a character-driven narrative that excelled in the most personal and intimate of ways. The emotional pull of the narrative and the honesty in which the author crafted these characters was both relatable and yet mesmerizing to behold, especially with main characters Oscar and May, who each hold a past of hardships and struggles in their own right.

There were quite a lot of truly memorable themes in this story, but two of the ones that stood out the most were the complexity of loss and the legacy of war. These themes were profound as they reflected Oscar and May’s individual journeys perfectly. The heartbreaking reality of Oscar’s non-existent relationship with his late father and the path he must walk to find empathy and understanding for others who are suffering is felt strongly, while May’s experiences with the war and how it has impacted her not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well are greatly explored and keep an honest dialogue going within the reader throughout the narrative.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, poetic, and engaging, author Joe Pace’s “Moss” is a must-read novel. The intense and layered struggles that we as humans face and the way in which we relate to one another are thoroughly explored in this narrative, and the heart of the narrative focuses on connections and how we engage with one another despite past experiences or traumas made this such a moving read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Joe Pace is a writer of literary and science fiction. He studied political science and history at the University of New Hampshire, and his writing reflects his ongoing academic and practical interest in both.

Joe has also served in elective office, taught American history, and worked in business banking. His assorted interests include comic books, pickup basketball, Greek mythology, and the occasional marathon. He was elected student body president as an undergraduate at the University of New Hampshire and then served nine years on the Select Board in Exeter. After coming up short in a bid for New Hampshire’s Executive Council, he returned to municipal governance as a Selectman in his new hometown of Kensington. 

As a storyteller, he seeks to weave memorable characters and places with unforgettable stories that speak to the human condition. His literary inspirations include John Irving, Lloyd Alexander, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Patrick O’Brian. He’s also an unapologetic Star Trek, Marvel, and West Wing guy. 

Joe was born and raised in seacoast New Hampshire and still calls it home with his wife, Sarah, their sons Bobby and Xavier, and their dopey dogs Sam and Joy.


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