Praise for Beyond the Threshold
"In Mark Ristau’s brilliant psychological novel, Beyond the Threshold, a man grapples with his untreated childhood traumas."
"Our choices in life, and the power of forgiveness, are the themes in this absorbing bildungsroman, the follow up to A Hero Dreams, that follows troubled hero Ricky Williamson from his childhood in the 1970s up to the dawn of the new millennium. The assault he endured as a child has left its mark on his personality, and he has had deep problems at work and eventually looks to get back at the people who have hurt him. But a mysterious boy named David suddenly appears in his life—or at least in his mind—forcing Ricky to face his past, and helps him remake his life for a better future."
"Mark Ristau's Beyond the Threshold is a provocative, enlightening read. [His] well-crafted writing takes both his characters and readers to the edge."
"In this second volume of Ristau's trilogy, Ricky's life journey continues, taking the reader on a breathtaking ride through space and time. As clever as it is profound, Ristau's tale of violation, injustice, revenge, and eventual redemption grabs one by the wrist and won't let go. Prepare for a finale that leaves you dazed, mystified, and deeply moved."
–Charles Anthony Vilina, author of Subculture
"Following in the footsteps of Charles Dickens, Mark Ristau takes a young man on an intense and magical journey, revealing what his life had been, what it has come to, and what it might be. In this novel we come to see the stories we tell ourselves and how to break out of them by going Beyond the Threshold."
–Mary Logue, author of the Claire Watkins mysteries and The Streel
"Author Ristau deftly entwines memoir-like realism with a mysterious supernatural plotline. Vivid prose and deeply emotional scenes draw you in, and the mystical storyline sets the hook. Ultimately, a poignant and introspective journey of self-discovery."
–Kevin A. Kuhn, award-winning author of Do You Realize?
"Beyond the Threshold reveals the extreme pain and daunting struggles many young people face daily as they battle the invisible pain of adversity. Author Mark Ristau masterfully exposes the trauma, gnawing pain and invisible damage so many people encounter. A true challenge in writing such a story is to make it palatable to the reader. Ristau succeeds beyond expectation by using his words to masterfully paint beautiful scenes and intriguing, believable characters. Beyond the Threshold exposes the challenge of invisible wounds for all to see."
–Capt. Jim Kosmo, author, speaker, and winner of 16 national book awards
"[Author Mark] Ristau plays with alternate realities that ground the story in energy’s persistent truth—and the stories we tell ourselves to grasp the transient power of being human. By challenging our perceptions of age, time and history, the story reminds us that thresholds are only as limiting as we make them."
–Kate Towle, author of Sweet Burden of Crossing
"Beyond the Threshold is a work of spiritual/visionary fiction that does a convincing and heart-warming job of showing that you can be successful and prosper, regardless of the scars of the past. Thirty-five-year-old Ricky Williamson is going through the motions of life, bound by his past, old beliefs, misconceptions, and fears. He feels betrayed by the world for all the wrongs he thinks have been done to him, and he seeks a chance to get even. What will it take to convince him that the moment when everything collapsed in his life wasn’t the end but signaled a new beginning?"
–Margaret Duarte, author of Between Will and Surrender
"Ristau weaves a compelling, disturbing and uplifting tale that draws you into the world he has created."
–Stephen Yoch, award-winning author of Becoming George Washington and the forthcoming Becoming Benedict Arnold
Praise for A Hero Dreams
"Ristau's writing is dramatic and poetic . . . The work invites examination of universal themes . . . In the classic tradition of heroic adventures, Ristau richly textures the story with obstacles of sibling rivalry, peer pressure, and bullying, while paving the way for thematic explorations of good vs evil, love and hate, honor, guilt, and forgiveness."
–Foreword Clarion Reviews
"A Hero Dreams is a stunning blend of the all-too-real life of little Ricky, not yet ten years old, and the surreal world he creates for himself to survive . . . Beautiful images and scenes contrast with the hardness and brutality of real life to create a montage of what existence and survival is like for one, lonely little boy. A fine read for the drama, and the poetry will stay with you for a long time."
–Judith Koll Healey, author of The Canterbury Papers and The Rebel Princess and the forthcoming Becket: The Murder Book
"Mark Ristau has written a lovely book that tantalizes us with the line between reality and all that might be beyond."
–Mary Logue, author of the Claire Watkins mysteries and Sleep Like a Tiger
"An elegantly written and heart wrenching tale that transports readers to a time not so long ago, and yet a lifetime away. Ristau leaves us wanting to devour the next installment in the series."
–Stephen Yoch, award-winning author of Becoming George Washington
"In the pages of A Hero Dreams, novelist and consummate storyteller Mark Ristau takes his reader on an epic journey along the furthermost frontiers of human consciousness and into a miraculous realm where anything is possible. An inspiring tale of hope, faith, courage, and profound self-discovery, A Hero Dreams is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community library Contemporary General Fiction collections."
–Midwest Book Review