Hot damn, what an utter hoot this book is. It's gravel and grit lit but with a lighter, sunnier touch, that bleeds zippy dialogue, colorful characters...more Hot damn, what an utter hoot this book is. It's gravel and grit lit but with a lighter, sunnier touch, that bleeds zippy dialogue, colorful characters and zany situations. It's a road trip buddy picture type deal that very nearly turns into a circus caravan. It's Breaking Bad meets Pineapple Express on the Mississippi Delta where "crackers" and "white trash" abound, as much fiscally as they are hygienically challenged.
Nick Reid is just your regular guy trying to get along as best he can as a repo man -- repossessing unpaid for goods. It can be a dangerous, sticky job coming to take from people what they already consider to be theirs. Nick finds this out the hard way when he comes to repo a plasma TV from Percy Dwayne Dubois (that's pronounced Dew-boys). Percy Dwayne gets the jump on Nick and smacks him upside the head with a fireplace shovel. It knocks Nick temporarily senseless, during which time Percy Dwayne flees the scene with his wife, baby, plasma TV and Nick's mint-condition 1969 Ranchero. The Ranchero is actually borrowed from Nick's elderly landlady who he's quite fond of so he feels honor bound to do everything in his power to get it back from the lowlife who drove off with it.
Thus kick-starts Nick's hunt and chase across the Delta to recover the '69 Ranchero. Joining him will be his best buddy Desmond -- extremely large, black, very fond of Sonic Coney Islands and averse to any place or situation that might have snakes or other biting stinging things.
"I don't go in attics. I don't go in basements. I don't go in bayous. I don't go in the woods."
Along the way, Nick and Desmond will pick up a cast of bayou misfits and miscreants in their bid to track down and steal back the Ranchero. There will be many mishaps and much mayhem along the way.
I laughed. A LOT. Fans of Frank Bill and Donald Ray Pollock looking for something less bloody and despairing, and more slapstick and outrageous need look no further than Nick Reid. There's two more books in this series so far, and I can't wait to see what Nick gets up to next.
Picking this one up I was not prepared for such a trip into dark and depraved waters. This is more than Scudder has ever gone up against previously an...more Picking this one up I was not prepared for such a trip into dark and depraved waters. This is more than Scudder has ever gone up against previously and definitely the strongest in the series since Eight Million Ways To Die. While we've moved along in years out of the 80's into the early 90's, New York City continues to be a seething trap of anger and violence and desperation with all those ways to die and Scudder has stumbled upon yet another one. This time, he didn't even go looking for it, not really. It sort of finds him in a weird, chilling series of coincidences.
Two words: snuff film. Yeah, like I said, dark and depraved waters.
Scudder is moving along nicely in his life these days. He's sober and regularly attending meetings. He's got his girlfriend Elaine (who one dewy-eyed reviewer wistfully and with no irony whatsoever refers to as Matt's snuggle bunny) no matter that she's a call girl and continues to see clients. He's also forged a pretty meaningful friendship with Mick Ballou, the Irish gangster who may or may not have carried around some guy's head in a bowling ball bag, the man who proudly wears his father's blood stained butcher's apron (and which of those stains are man or animal, nobody knows).
I keep coming back to these books mostly for Scudder. He's such a great character to spend time with. But also for the sense of time and place that Block is able to conjure. I find the Scudder books act like time capsules in a way. So much of the plotting of this story relies on VHS tapes and renting them from a video store. It made me remember what that was like and how long it's been since I've actually done it.
I remember when my family got its first VCR ever and it was this huge exciting moment, like we had finally arrived at a Jetsons' version of the future. And with Block, it's so authentic, because he's not writing these books from a 21st century perspective and recreating 1991, he actually wrote this one in 1991 without the long view and hindsight that we have as readers. I love that. That doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to Scudder aging and getting Block's take on a 21st century New York. I can't wait actually.
I'll wrap this up with a note on the ending -- holy shit snacks. (view spoiler)[If Scudder had done this in his heavy drinking days, I would have blamed it on the booze, but to do it stone cold sober, I'm positively shocked. Yet pleased. Satisfied. There was a time early on when I was so angry at Scudder for letting a child rapist walk free (forcing him to donate money to Boys' Town). I was so disappointed with his lack of action then. Well, no one can accuse him of lack of action here. Decisive. Unequivocal. Was this justice or cold-blooded murder? I loved when Scudder tells Ballou about his mentor who told him you don't ever do something with your own hands you can get somebody else to do for you. Well I guess Scudder decided that wasn't for him. If this was going to happen, he was going to have blood on his hands to show for it. I can respect that. (hide spoiler)]
Now I think I'll go for a walk among the tombstones. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I can't believe it, but Negan is growing on me as a character. Despite his psycho tendencies and brutal, Medieval manner, I'm finding him waaaay more...more I can't believe it, but Negan is growing on me as a character. Despite his psycho tendencies and brutal, Medieval manner, I'm finding him waaaay more interesting than I ever did the Governor. There's a black humor that surrounds him that when mixed with his blunt badassery style is just ... well... bloody entertaining.
His confrontation with Rick is tense, exciting as hell, filled with profanity and written on the edge of a razor.
You ever hear the one about the stupid fuck named Rick who fucking thought he knew shit but didn't know shit and got himself fucking killed?
And really, I know Rick is supposed to be the good guy "hero", but I took some small amount of pleasure in seeing him dressed down Negan-style: "In case you haven't noticed...you're fucking fucked you stupid fucker."
It's this confrontation scene which saves this volume from mediocrity and mere filler as we move towards the "big" final(?) showdown with Negan and his band of merry psychokillers. Is Kirkman finally edging closer to a climax that's auspicious enough to end the series on? I hope so. If this storyline is not satisfactorily concluded soon, it will officially become the Coronation Street of zombie storytelling, and nobody wants that. Get out while the blood is still fresh on the page. (less)