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Few people can tell a story as powerfully and bluntly as Kenner McQuaid. Fed-up with reading works that gloss over the sometimes harsh and graphic reality of life, McQuaid tackles issues head-on such as depression, sex, drugs, religion, relationships, and the Star Wars prequels in his debut novel, Madman on the Water. Despite the wide range of material, the high-traffic legal blog Constitutional Daily observed that “the story flows naturally” and “all topics are handled with great wit and insight.” The book is written in the first person by Patrick McShea, a 32 year-old unemployed and sexually repressed attorney who casts his lot with a bunch of relative strangers in a Jersey Shore resort for the summer as he recovers from the trauma of a failed suicide attempt. He documents his successes, his failures, and reflects back on his Irish Catholic upbringing as he tries to comprehend how his life went from one filled with the highest of potential to a meager existence that is only stabilized by taking 6 pills a day and self-medicating whenever possible. Far from being a work of constant doom-and-gloom, a cast of unforgettable characters provide necessary comic relief from a story that is otherwise filled with regret. Ultimately, a beautiful woman and a bearded collie provide Patrick with the love he is seeking to distance himself from his reality. Along the way, the look directly into a man’s mind provided by Madman on the Water paints a raw and sometimes disturbing portrait of mental illness and unbridled sexual desire that couldn’t be told as skillfully by any other writer. Parental discretion is advised.
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Kenner R. McQuaid was born in Abington, Pennsylvania to Irish Catholic parents and raised in Philadelphia from the age of three days. He earned a B.A. from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and attended law school in Philadelphia where he practiced law for six years. No longer practicing full-time, Mr. McQuaid divides his time between Philadelphia and Cape May County, NJ.
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