Publisher: New Pulp
Publishing Date: January 2014
Publisher Description: Ex-con Jake Bishop is several years past his second stint in prison and has completely reformed. He’s married, expecting a child, and preparing to open his own hair salon. But then an old cellmate re-enters his life begging for a favor: to help him with a burglary. Forced by his code of ethics to perform the crime, Jake’s once idyllic life quickly plunges into an abyss. Jake soon realizes that there is only one way out of this purgatory . . . and it may rupture his soul beyond repair.
Review: What an awesome cover! Frikin’ water colored dude spear fishing or digging a grave…..kewl.
This novel was a split decision in that a tie is like kissing your sister (I wouldn’t know as I have 8 brothers). I just couldn’t get over the hump of endless internal dialogue that separates the story-line from the movement (action) of the novel. They just never quite inter-twine into a composite whole. The author chooses to build characters with back-story intermissions throughout the novel, rather than lead you down a path of discovery. Yeah it is harder to write and makes for complex scene development but it can draw you in like a gopher to a hole.
The premise of the novel which essentially involves Spencer (a turd) and Walker his cellie from prison, have a past crime that he committed that they hang over his head in order to get his cooperation in a burglary. Essentially blackmail. So……the question I have is what would you do? Me? Since my life is so great now with a hot chick wife and a loser little brother, I would let the dice fall, as the alternative is getting thrown back in jail for life if you get caught. You have a better chance of lawyering up or denying the charge when the victim is practically a vegetable. The evidence is zero, only hearsay.
This novel kind of barfed the characters and the subsequent development down your shirt front. There was no intrigue that helped develop the depth of the character. Just because you have vignettes of Jake as a youth swallowing coins and getting beaten with a strap does not make you empathize with him. Mainly because there is no real emotional content in the scene that evokes a visceral response from me, the reader. Your mom’s quiet tears coupled with defiant actions just doesn’t create a pull. Remove mom and her tears, and perhaps dad and set the kid in a lonely place dealing with the hurt and pain. This makes for a good opportunity to internalize emotion and develop the character. Children’s thoughts can go in various paths when processing hurtful events.
There is quite a bit of graphic violence that involves man rape and killing women etc. I think the author’s insertion of these events into the story-line was an attempt to create a hard-boiled or noir crime fiction novel. What it really does is replicate a bad memory from a host of bad instances. Again there is no pull and no sympathizing with a character who has made successively degrading life choices. I thought the ending was too simplistic and flirted with the ol’ deus ex. Why not have his wife be the mastermind behind the whole shebang or better yet have turned on him when she knew he participated in killing her mom. This story-line could have taken a myriad of turns and twists to make it interesting but decided to divest itself of any creative inclination. It’s a less than 50 % but better than 30% that you might like it.