Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat is thought-provoking and unusual. It touches on difficult topics such as anxiety, autism, infidelity, divorce, depression, and suicide in a realistic manner and without stigma, which I found refreshing. I believe it will become a favorite of book clubs because it’s packed with symbolism and issues ripe for discussion. Todd R. Baker has written a strong debut novel. Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat is haunting and unforgettable.
Todd R. Baker’s debut novel, Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat … is an out-of-the-park home run. Baker writes skillfully about Silicon Valley stardom with a satirical insider’s view of the Disneyesque lifestyle and expectations so many in that nanoscopic slice of the world come to see as reality. In fact, [protagonist Luke Morrow’s] rise is so fabled that he even decides he wants to conquer space; it comes as no surprise when his seminal flight reveals that not even Earth is big enough for his dreams and reach. (A direct shot at Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin? Do billionaires’ egos really stretch that far?) Secrets offers a wholesome finish and succeeds on so many other levels that it is well worth the read, especially in our present political climate where a blustering billionaire has bullied his way to the head of a national party, unashamedly touting the power of his billions, and where social media worship has transformed our culture to such an extent that Likes, Followers, and Snaps eclipse the bright lights of conscience and soul.
—Bill Gourgey, The Delmarva Review
The book’s…quick scene-to-scene format makes you want to finish it in one sitting. Baker has learned from his time in the film industry, but takes advantage of the room a novel gives one such as room for characters’ thoughts and perspectives and more time to show the protagonist, Luke Morrow’s delightful and compelling relationship with his son, Trevor. Secrets’ most redeemable quality is that of Luke’s—his relationship with his son is endearing, sweet, and enough to make you consider the lovely parts of parenthood worth the trouble and pain that come along with raising a life. It’s a hard book to put down (and) it’s the opening line that really gets you: “On his fortieth birthday, the man, unshaven and sleepless, unlocks a gun. As comets die overhead, he raises the gun, bruises blooming where cuffs had once strapped him to a bed.”