Every time I read one of Stephen Jared’s books I come away from the experience impressed by his insight into human nature. He knows people, and he understands their foibles, idiosyncrasies, desires and dreams. His fiction is dramatic, adventuresome, and infused with real emotion. I can never guess how the plot will turn out, but I am compelled to turn the page. Need More Road is a heartfelt story about Eddie Howard, a bachelor with a lonely life. He takes pleasure in movies because there’s not much else to do in post-war Barstow, California. Working as a bank clerk, his life changes when a knockout blonde doll with movie star looks walks into the bank to set up an account. The tension builds inexorably, and the woman, Mary Rose, is part of a plan to rob the bank. I will say no more regarding the plot, except that Eddie and Mary share a long and winding road together. This is a short novel, and the pacing is even. The circumstances Eddie and Mary Rose find themselves in have an existential feel to them, which by its literary application involves the characters experiencing confusion in our absurd world. This is not blatant, but rather a feeling I had reading the book. Hollywood is part of the background, but greed and desire drive the plot which lends a film noir feel to the narrative. I don’t know if Jared intended that, but the tone is the direct result of Eddie and Mary Rose’s actions. Eddie sometimes struck me as a Walter Mitty type, and in one brief scene he imagines making love to Mary Rose in Paris when he’s actually at a dismal gas station. His relationship with Mary Rose after the robbery is surreal. Stephen Jared is a splendid writer, and the prose flows seamlessly. I enjoyed Need More Road, as I have enjoyed all of his stories. Jared has a natural born talent, which is complemented by his career as a professional actor in Hollywood. Kudos!