I learned of this book from author Alden Bell when reading an interview with him for my review of his book The Reapers are the Angels. He listed this as one of his favorite books, and I said at that time that after reading the synopsis for Smonk, I could see where he got his inspiration for his character Temple of The Reapers are the Angels.
This book is a rip-roaring ride! I had mentioned to my friends early on that this book was the most vile and obscene book I’d ever read, and yet the most entertaining. The author is unapologetic in his approach, seeming to set aside all sensibilities and censor. Brash and unadulterated, this story is totally in your face, almost daring you to be offended.
Smonk is portrayed as a pretty despicable character, and is easily disliked from the beginning.
Evavangeline, on the other hand, while tough and unforgiving, and a 14-year-old prostitute on the run, is portrayed with a certain vulnerability. I found myself hoping for her redemption.
One thing I did have difficulty with was the lack of quotations used in dialogue, initially making it difficult to tell the conversations apart from the narration. But I got used to this pretty quickly, so it didn’t take away from my enjoyment.
This is my first book by Tom Franklin, and I look forward to reading more of his work. I think Hell at the Breach may be next on my list.
Final word: Pick up this book, sit back with a drink, cover your ears and brace your sensibilities. You’re in for the ride of a lifetime!