Chief by John Lyttle III | Spoiler-Free Novella Review

Chief by John Lyttle III | Spoiler-Free Novella Review

Hai Beautiful!

An interesting premise…

I want to thank John Lyttle for providing me with a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review. The premise was so intriguing that I just had to check it out plus it was a very short and quick read.

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Wisdom walks through the halls as a most unusual janitor in New York's wealthiest building.

I want to preface this review by saying that I wasn’t a big fan of aspects of this story and I want to make my review informative for anyone who wants to pick this up. I want this to be constructive but also reliable for those of you who trust my reviews when choosing your next read.


What caught me off guard first was the writing. The story lacked depth. Everything was being told in short sentences, describing only the base-level facts and skipping between characters with little introduction.

I don’t mean to sound harsh but the truth is, I wanted more.

The premise of a wise janitor who is trusted by everyone in the office he works in, given a cool nickname and probably one of the more valued employees, sounds absolutely amazing! It’s a cool story idea that I would expect could be developed and drawn out across a full-length novel, full of mystery and intrigue and loads of loveable characters. But that’s not what this was… even in a short nineteen pages, Chief didn’t live up to the intrigue promised by the blurb.

We open the story with a conversation between two characters. No proper introduction, descriptions, nothing. I don’t think we were told what any of the characters looked like throughout the novel, except that the men were handsome and the woman, beautiful… and materialistic.

Maybe because I’m so used to reading Young Adult, but for a story that is marketed as “wisdom walking through the halls”, I expected some internal dialogue or maybe in-depth thought processes about what the other characters thought of this janitor scattered throughout the novel.

What I found really cool was the fact that the janitor was essentially best friends with everyone in the office! I loved that he was trusted, delivered advice and helped where he saw he could. Although, again I found that his teachings and actions lacked substance. I liked the first teaching that was based on life experience, but the fairytale analogies were lost on me because they made no sense to the story and didn’t relate to the character as we knew him.

The more I think about it, the more I realise that this story is made up of instances in which the janitor converses and interacts with the staff and could have been a series of fleshed-out short stories that all string together into a single storyline. I said it before but we could learn more about the janitor as a person, if this was drawn out and told from a third-person perspective of each employee. Where we listen to the opinions and thoughts of each employee about the janitor, learning how he is, why they trust him so much and truly how much of an enigma he is.

There was a large twist at the end that I had to actually read over a few times to truly understand. I mean this was a really cool twist and I really liked how it was revealed, just once again the writing made it hard to follow.

Overall, I absolutely love the premise and the entire message the novel is trying to convey, I just believe that it was not properly executed.

★ Rating ★

I rated this book ★★☆☆☆ (2/5 stars). Despite it being a short story, I found that with more tweaking, character building and overall story development, this would honestly make an amazing novel. The story had such potential to hook readers in, it just, in my opinion, wasn’t executed properly.

About The Author

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John Lyttle III, President & CEO of The Lyttle Company LLC, is a quantitative analyst and businessman. In prior years, John served as Chief Operating Officer of Ogee Group LLC, a NY based Quantitative Hedge fund.

Lyttle has worked on the Financial Planning & Analysis team at Vornado Realty Trust as well as Senior Analyst to the CFO at Health Monitor Network. John has been acknowledged in a Wiley Finance publication entitled “Advanced Equity Derivatives: Volatility and Correlation” for his “help on many figures and problem solutions.” In addition, he has been published in STEM Magazine, The Financial Times, and The New York Times. Lyttle was also the recipient of the John Wilson Memorial Award from the Pennsylvania Council for Exceptional Children for his work with Operation Smile.

Lyttle has a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics with a Minor in Economics from Fordham University and a Masters of Science in Finance from The Johns Hopkins University.

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