Jon Christakos is a bit of a celebrity in the Greek village of Tarpon Springs, Florida. Jon’s mother was the world-famous Weeki Wachie Mermaid who married his father, a supposed Polish Mafioso. Both parents mysteriously drowned a week after Jon’s birth. Fortunately, his mother’s aunt and her husband as well as some neighbors took the responsibility of raising Jon. But twenty years after his parent’s demise, Jon’s aunt and uncle also mysteriously drown. Tragedy seems to be a theme in his family since Jon was diagnosed with brain cancer during his teen years and was considered cancer free after an experimental surgery. Now in his forty’s, the cancer has returned and he’s been told that he has six months to live. Except for family members, Jon keeps his diagnosis tightly under wraps from the rest of the village.
While many in Tarpon Springs looks up to Jon, especially because of his generous giving to other brain cancer patients, Jon also has a history with the ladies. One in particular, Alicia Safford, makes a significant dent in his life when she left him for his stepbrother. Heartbroken from betrayal, Jon has a difficult time falling in love—even when the beautiful Abby Flowers enters his life. Ironically, Alicia has devious plans in the works to destroy Jon and artistic livelihood. Amid stressful and depressing moments, there are those who have high hopes that Jon will get through his medical dilemma, especially when he undergoes another experimental surgery, such as Evelyn, the woman who raised him, and another gal who mysteriously shows up in his life: Hannah. Plans for another experimental surgery don’t go as scheduled and Jon anticipates death will be imminent. But miracles do happen. Whether or not Jon believes in them is another story.
Patterson has created an unusual story of one man’s story of hope amid tragedy. Using his own stomping ground as the backdrop for his narrative, Patterson has taken much liberty to fictional the historic Tarpon Springs while sprinkling in factual information about the Greek community, the sponge industry, and annual Epiphany celebration. A balanced mix of fantasy and reality, Patterson’s plot includes a well-defined host of characters, which function for the most part as foils to develop his principal protagonist, Jon Christakos. Patterson uses engaging dialogue, backstories, and unexpected scenes to not only keep his storyline fluid, but also slowly build up to its dramatic climax.
Patterson’s captivating story draws readers into the fascinating Tarpon Springs. Aside of the factual aspects of this historic place, Patterson does a stellar job keeping his plot light by incorporating fantasy and spirituality to a topic that can be considered rather dismal—dealing with terminal illness and imminent death. A great mix of fact and fiction that is laced with hope and love, Epiphany Man is a perfect read for those looking for a fresh approach to fantasy literature.