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.
The Qwillery


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.”

Advance Praise


“In the spirit of the best of American social commentary—think Sinclair Lewis or John O’Hara—Todd R. Baker’s Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat follows the fall and rise of demoralized advertising executive and single father Luke Morrow, who fate gives a crack at the parallel life he has always wanted and believes himself to deserve. Carefully observed and cleverly plotted, Baker’s tour-de-force is at once biting and poignant, both a commentary on the misguided values of our business class and a testament to the redemptive power of parental love. I cannot recall the last time I read a volume of this length in one weekend—at least, not for pleasure—and I entirely lost track of time in the process. The dialogue is as crisp and as authentic as any in modern fiction; the pages seem to turn themselves. In short, a first-rate novel that captures the pulse of its age.”
—Jacob M. Appel, author of Einstein’s Beach House


Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat lays bare the warped narcissism of an unconscionable American billionaire, championing the redemptive antidote to him: a return to civility and basic decency. In the time of Donald Trump and garish Trumpism, Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat restores crucial faith in our most principled values: honor, empathy and love.
—L.S. Bassen, author of Summer of the Long Knives, Lives of Crime & Other Stories, Marwa, Atlantic Pacific Press Drama Prize Winner


“Tightly written and […] adroit in its storytelling, [Secrets of Men in a Lifeboat] offers two finely drawn lives and a continuing mystery as to how they will overlap. The curious will wonder how it all ends […] The novel should cause many readers to fervently seek [its] lesson.”
Kirkus Reviews


“In the multiple incarnations of Luke Morrow, the hero of Todd R. Baker’s tightly drawn debut novel, we are presented with life’s many interpretations of success, love, and fatherhood. One man’s oscillation between two converging worlds is what gives this novel its narrative drive, and it’s worth holding on.”
—Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue


At a moment when America’s adoration of its financial giants is approaching a unique level of madness, Todd R. Baker comes to remind us what dangerous heroes we have wrought. A timely morality tale, observed with an insider’s fidelity.
—Robin Kirman, author of Bradstreet Gate


There are many tender scenes between Luke and his son… Luke’s rise from despair […] takes readers on a journey full of riches… A Faustian tale of a SoCal man given the choice between fame and fortune or his heart and soul.


An inventive blend of fable and satire that expertly captures the complexity of the lives we lead.
—Lou Berney, USA Today best-selling author of The Long and Faraway Gone


I found much to admire in the novel. Todd is clearly a talented writer, with a special gift for dialogue. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of the father-son relationship—tender, funny, and true.
—Lauren Acampora, author of The Wonder Garden