Lee Thompson is a very good writer. Most novels feature formulaic and structured plot and draw from an accepted palette of symbolism or metaphor to create a desired artistic effect. Sort of like a Currier and Ives Christmas scene. Just as we are supposed to, we smile with remembrance and recognize ourselves (idealized, of course) in the work.
Thompson doesn't let you off that easily. He rips his chest open and lays his suffering on that page and we cringe as we recall our own suffering and shudder as we recognize our own weaknesses in his characters. We can feel him do this and it changes us.
The reader can sense the truth and real suffering behind these characters and is forced to look inside themselves and the reader who approaches these novels with an open mind and heart will be moved by them. Sometimes there aren't solutions and sometimes the pain just doesn't go away.