A Man Of Remarkable Restraint

Charles is definitely going insane. Has been since he was a kid. But with intense focus and, yes, remarkable restraint, he’s managed to keep a tight grip on his loose-cannon inner psycho… until he gets laid off from his job at the newspaper.


Uh-oh. Something’s gonna blow. Could be a blood vessel in his brain. Could be a goddamn helicopter packed with ammonium nitrate. Good thing he meets a rowdy but warm-hearted Vietnam Vet named Stanley “Apocalypse” Nowell when he heads straight to the bar after losing his job. At least now he has a friend.

Things appear to be looking up when he gets some freelance work ghostwriting a novel for a cartoonishly badass ex-military, soldier-of-fortune type; and when he awkwardly meets a nice young woman who works at the post office. But, alas, things are destined to go down in flames.

Come along on this madcap, darkly comedic odyssey with a deeply troubled, self-antagonistic protagonist. A man with a bright mind and a dark soul — Charles [last name withheld to protect the innocent].

Based on 17 Reviews
April 23, 2023

5.0 out of 5 stars A hilarious journey with a nail-biting ending

Breneman has produced a rarity—a thriller packed with humor. I think just about anybody can see a bit of the protagonist in themselves. Charles is a keen observer of his fellow human being, absorbed with themselves…and getting in his way. He’s the ultra-intelligent pessimist lacking social confidence that just about everyone can relate to. The cast of characters he meets along the way give him ample ammunition to hone his criticism, both of himself and others. His love interest forces him to contend with his own failings, as does a young bully, but his interactions with both a new friend and a new employer drive the story. The book seamlessly weaves Breneman’s deep knowledge of Portsmouth, New Hampshire into the narrative and anyone who has visited this beautiful port city will recognize the landmarks. “A Man of Remarkable Restraint” is an easy choice for anyone looking for a dark laugh amidst a suspenseful thriller.

Conrad Ruiz
January 16, 2023

5.0 out of 5 stars Restraint is an emotion that's experienced alone and also by all.

I like the way John can guide us through a character who’s just struggling to get over their past and has a lot of unresolved anger to show for it. I find it healthy to sustain a sense of what other people are going through, and to be mindful of what it might take to set them off in one way or another. The book itself has some jokes that I simply don’t get, but I won’t forget the rant on toxic personal development – brilliant. Thank you, John.

Karen McCarthy
November 12, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

I’m an occasional reader. I read, I put down, I pick up. Every time I picked up “A Man of Remarkable Restraint”, I was immediately drawn back into the story reading more than intended. Today I joyfully found myself at the surprise ending leaving me both satisfied and wanting more. A perfectly orchestrated piece. I loved it!

August 12, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and timely, worth your time

Enjoyed it tremendously, great story

July 29, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars John Breneman's Madcap Magnum Opus

“Madcap.” A “romp.” not words you hear much these days but they apply to John Breneman’s thoroughly entertaining debut novel. Every sentence is funny.

June 8, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable read

Let me start with the fact that I love John’s writing style. His use of language is exceptional. The book is darkly funny, and gives a glimpse of the inner dialog that we all have but won’t admit to. Charles is a man pursued by his inner demons, and limited by his childhood trauma. You can’t help but root for Charles to work things out. I suggest you read the book and find out if he does.

June 2, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps a first time novelist – Definitely not a first time writer !

This was a good read with a bit of a surprising twist at the end. Once you get into it, you won’t put it down.. Delightfully profane and funny. Enjoyed it !

May 16, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and captivating!

Brilliant writing, captivating, dark-ish but witty and humorous at the same time! It was difficult to put this book down! It’s a great read! And not the typical kind of book I normally read! Congratulations to John B, author!

May 8, 2022

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read

Definitely worth checking out

Ethan Floyd
May 8, 2022

Definitely worth checking out

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