I’m a writer. I went to Tulane University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship where I graduated with a bachelor's in physics and mathematical economics. I’ve self-published seven books, most recently with Outskirts Press, and I’m including the Kirkus review of Lazarus as an objective evaluation of my writing. The review was featured by Kirkus in its newsletter. Besides Lazarus, I’ve written two children’s picture books for my two daughters, a collection of novellas, Salted with Salt and The Altar of Silence, a collection of stories and poems entitled Crossroads from Damascus, and my most recent book, Rick's Place. Currently I'm working on my eighth book, The Psalmist.
Kirkus Discoveries Review of Lazarus
An avant garde update of a classic Greek tragedy.
Akley’s new novel is a deeply ambitious project, 700-plus pages of experimental prose filled with allusions to the Bible, the Beatles, Marx, Nietzsche, Johnny Cash and the cool jazz of Miles Davis, but readers who stick with it will be amply rewarded. Although labyrinthine, it is also gratifying. Akley’s previous work includes a number of award-winning children’s books, but this project is decidedly adult. Lazarus is a contemporary version of the Oedipus trilogy, Sophocles’ timeless epic about the benighted family of a man who kills his father and marries his mother. However, the novel is less a retelling than a refraction. Akley shines his ancient source through a prism and watches the colors spin and dance on a white wall, jumping between generations and growing family trees whose limbs are sometimes chopped with surprising speed, he delivers a tale as engrossing as it is complex. However, he manages this sprawling project with a steady hand, his deft prose is the thread that keeps his patchwork quilt from falling to pieces. The author experiments with numerous forms, piecing his story together with diary entries, e-mail correspondence, dramatic dialogue and, to great effect, screenplay. Each form is more adeptly handled than the last and such flexibility proves his skill.
A challenging but altogether cutting-edge, first-rate magnum opus by an up-and-coming author.