In the award-winning mystery/thriller Who Okayed This?! The Riveting Life of Grant Davis by author Philip E. Barrington, the title character is living a relatively normal, uneventful life when one night, he is attacked in his New York home and injected with a lethal toxin. His body rapidly deteriorating, Grant must figure out why his friends have become his biggest enemies, find an antidote (if one even exists), and simply decide whether his life is worth living now that every relationship must be questioned.
“I think many readers will feel a lot of sympathy for Grant because we all know how unpredictable, and even unfair, life can be,” says Philip E. Barrington. “We also know that as humans, we are wired to turn to our friends and family for comfort and support when we are in trouble. So, Grant’s situation is especially difficult because as his life collapses, he really has no one to help him. In the blink of an eye, he is completely alone and must be brave enough to go on.”
In Who Okayed This?!, Philip E. Barrington sends Grant on a frantic journey around the world to search for answers and save his life. In dealing with authorities, Grant quickly realizes that there are different sides in every society: one that plays by the rules and one that does not. Corrupt officials stymie his efforts to get answers, and he finds himself running from the very people who should be helping him.
“Grant is a very human character, and he wrestles with the frustrations of a system that is not working as it should,” says Philip E. Barrington. “The loss of the life he once knew and the relationships he relied on, his worsening health, and the answers that he finds all lead him to the edge of despair.”
What Grant ends up learning, however, is that the world and its inhabitants cannot be neatly put in a box. As soon as he decides that no one can be trusted or that there is no true beauty, he meets someone who restores his hope in humanity. He is confronted with the lovely spirit of a stranger in a cafe, easing his heart and making him realize that yes, even with everything falling apart, there is still hope if he chooses to recognize it and embrace it.
Philip E. Barrington grew up in New York City, where he worked in the world of luxury goods at the Plaza in Manhattan. His own life was upended by a horrific accident when he was crushed between two cars. He remembers the bewilderment and disorientation that he felt when he woke up in a hospital bed.
“One moment, I had been just fine, and the next, I was wearing a Philadelphia collar around my neck, and I had two metal wrist-splints on both wrists and a cast from my right knee down to my toes,” Philip E. Barrington recalls. “I had concussion syndrome as well as multiple herniations in my neck and back, and the only way I could get around was by scooter.”
He says he learned very quickly who his true friends were, as many deserted him in his time of need. He was able to use that experience to make the emotions and reactions of Grant more realistic when he learns his friends are behind the attack.
“I was also very fortunate to cross paths with a woman who used a wheelchair due to a serious illness,” Philip E. Barrington reveals. “I was inspired by her full recovery, which she attributed to changing her diet and mindset. She was also a best-selling author, and this motivated me to begin writing my book.”
The ideas for Who Okayed This?! The Riveting Life of Grant Davis flew onto the page, and within a few years, he had created his first “faction” novel (a book that is based on some true events).
“In some ways, I had my own Grant Davis experience because of my accident,” Philip E. Barrington reflects. “Thankfully, I have made a full recovery, and I’m having a great time working on my second book as well as learning more about photography, cell physiology, and geo/bio physics.”
Philip E. Barrington says that when readers finish Who Okayed This?!, he hopes that they will reflect on what the book’s message means for their own lives.
“All of us struggle no matter how easy our lives might appear to everyone else,” he believes. “Grant can show us that even when everything seems hopeless, we can still find meaning and contentment in every second that we are given.”