Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Disassembled ManThe Disassembled Man by Jon Bassoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Disassembled man was my third read from author Jon Bassoff and his debut novel, from his other two stories the darkly disturbing Corrosion and the instantly forgettable Factory Town it would be interesting to see where this one would go. The Disassembled Man is told in a brash, maniacal first person narrative in true psychopathic style with lashings of dark and dirty humour.

Frankie Avicious is a man with a plan, one that's creeped up on him over time, shitty job at the slaughterhouse and a wife who has loads of potential in the wealth department but has let herself go somewhat over the years. Change is coming, he's making promises he can't possibly keep but that's not going to stop him trying and once you take the first step there’s no going back.

First off, he's in love with a stripper who sees him more as a stalker than a love interest, he hates his obese wife with a passion but her father is the big knob on the hill, a man with serious money. Now how can he get his hands on all that money and run away with the stripper of his dreams? It's gonna take some careful planning, or maybe not, let's just kill the old man, wife will inherit the money and then kill her, simple as.

Prepare yourself for a ride of carnage as possibly the most morally repressed man you've ever come across dives into a killing spree that would make psychos are us extremely proud.

Ruth is the wife and it would be fair to say that Frankie's love for her has waned just slightly over the years.

'She had more rolls than a bakery and more chins than a Hong Kong phone book.'

Tongue in cheek humour and violence follow after an argument.

'I should tell you now that Ruth suffered from a rare psychological disorder called insanity. The doctors gave her medication to stabilize her moods, but she must have forgotten to take her magic pills that day. In the wink of a con artist’s eye, she went from behaving like a loving housewife to a wild-eyed psychopath.'

And the punch that changes everything.

'but in all my life I don’t think I’d ever landed a better blow than this one. My fist vibrated, and she just stood there for a moment— the way a cartoon character remains suspended after walking off a cliff— then her knees gave way, and she collapsed to the floor.'

Frankie then has to win his Ruth back after she storms off, with money at the forefront of his mind, when he finally manages to convince her of his love it comes at a cost. A steamy night of passion and some hilarious scenes as Frankie in his mind goes to battle with a sexual tyrannosaurus.

'Then, like a Japanese kamikaze pilot, I readied myself for destruction. I dove into bed and was quickly smothered by the beached whale that was my wife.'

A mysterious traveling salesman named Jack Marteau takes an interest in hard drinking Frankie's fate as it becomes just a matter of time before he gets what's coming to him.

The Disassembled Man is a cringingly entertaining trip that has plenty of laughs, a war zones worth of violence and slaughter, some deranged family moments including incest and more than a fair share of depravity. All for money, the root of all evil but it's never that easy or we'd all have plenty of it. If moral fortitude and goodness of heart is what you're after then you're knocking on the wrong door with this story, prepare yourselves is all I will say.

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

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The Devil Gave Them Black WingsThe Devil Gave Them Black Wings by Lee Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Devil Gave Them Black Wings is a supernatural tinged thriller that resides in the aftermath of the falling twin towers.

Jacob walks a life of misery and despair, his wife lost in the disaster and he seeks closure, if it can ever be gained in the loss of a loved one, by burying her ashes at the house she grew up in. He can't find the house though and spends his time drinking in the park, sinking into the depths of depression.

This is where he meets Nina, a thirteen year old girl who recognises the sadness in him and also the goodness, he's broken and she needs to fix him.

'Her heart was pounding because he looked so goddamn lost, so in need of help, but she couldn’t help him, even at thirteen she knew that no matter how much somebody else needed you, you couldn’t change a thing in their lives: you could only listen if they spoke, and you could only hold them if they leaned on you.'

At the same time a little girl goes missing from the park, an abduction and a frenzy. People search for Jacob, the authorities, his wife's brother, Nina is desperate to see him and to warn him. Amidst the search for an abductor there's a dark, shadowy figure with names tattooed up his arms, a guardian or something much worse, a sheer nightmare.

'Only his features seemed to pulse, one moment blurry, the next razor sharp, then they’d blur again and for the life of him Jacob knew that if he looked away he would never be able to describe the man to anyone.'

A reporter toys with more depravity as she figures the abduction forms a pattern, a police officer looking for revenge and in the middle, one man grieving and one morally perceptive young girl deeply troubled by those around her.

'How much grief did you have to suffer, he wondered, before your mind shattered and you couldn’t keep anything straight.'

The Devil Gave Them Black Wings is a beautifully written tale of anguish, despair and immense sadness. A story of depth that is heart rending in places, the loss of a young love, a child not yet born and if that wasn't enough, a girl kidnapped in broad daylight. The parents distraught and burdened beyond measure with the knowledge that blame will never be far from thought.

Emotional just doesn't seem to cover it, there is darkness in people just as there is light and Lee Thompson expresses it better than most, flips between the two in the blink of an eye and you can't help being gripped by it all. I highlighted that many quotes that I actually found it difficult to pick the right ones for the review and that just about says it.

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...

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1414 by Peter Clines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When broke and directionless Nate Tucker finds an extremely affordable apartment, things quickly take an odd turn. Why does the light in Nate's kitchen always act like a black light? What's with the seven legged cockroaches? And why are all the other apartments as quirky as his? That's what Nate and the other tenants of the Kavach building aim to find out. But will they survive what they find?

After reading The Fold, I had the fever and the only cure was more Peter Clines! 14 has all of what I loved about The Fold and was quite an engaging read.

14 is the tale of an apartment building that has more mysteries than the entire run of Murder, She Wrote. As Nate compares notes with the other tenants, the Kavach building slowly gives up her secrets. I could easily see 14 being an episode of The Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits.

When the purpose of the Kavach building was finally revealed, I was one happy monkey. To prevent spoilage, I'll only say that I didn't see it coming and I was really glad the direction the book went in after that.

Clines' writing is very suspenseful and the way he gradually revealed the history and purpose of the building was masterfully done. If the book has one weakness, I'd say it was the characters. Nate, Tim, and Veek were the only ones I was terribly attached to. The others were immigrants from Clicheville, if you ask me.

All the tie-ins to The Fold made me glad I read that book first. Actually, now I'm waiting for Clines to write another book to tie in with them.

That's about all I have to say. 14 has everything I look for in an odd read and was very enjoyable. Four out of five stars.

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