Friday, November 21, 2014
Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Approximate word count:
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DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, Alpha Wolves, The Death of Anyone and The Pool Boy’s Beatitude.
You can find Swykert at his website. He is a wolf expert.
Jack is an alcoholic, drug-using, womanizing, university dropout who stumbles through life by cleaning swimming pools.
This was a fascinating read on a number of levels. Firstly, Mr. Swykert knows how to put words on a page. The writing is crisp and engaging. Which is a good thing, because the main character, Jack, needs all the help he can get. To say he’s not an easy character to like is to understate the obvious. He’s cheating on his wife, cheating on his girlfriend, and in general willing to cheat or lie about anything if it’ll lead to his next drink.
So, it’s quite an achievement to write a story told from this reprobate’s point of view and yet keep me engaged throughout. In a strange way, I was always rooting for Jack, but God knows he didn’t deserve my sympathy.
When I tell you that that the story spans only a few weeks of Jack’s life, you’ll understand that I spent most of the time inside Jack’s head. And I learned quite a lot about the mind of an addict in the process. Although his lifestyle was not to be admired, it made perfect sense.
All in all, an unusual and fascinating read.
Some graphic sexual situations including mild BDSM.
Rating: **** Four stars