Saw this listed in one of my Goodread's friends 'to read' list and I was immediately drawn to it as it was described as a very dark crime novel that had apparently been rejected by several publishers due to the nature of its subject matter and to a degree, I can understand why.
Billy is an 18 year old who lives with his abusive alcoholic stepfather, following the death of his mother. He is bullied at school partly due to the fact that the trauma of his mother's death has delayed his body's growth and he is only now entering puberty. He has an obsession with travelling to Canada and is sexually aroused by fire and flame. He has a part time job at a local diner and he has formed a bond with tattooed, crank snorting, ex-felon Frank, who only has one leg and has a propensity for extreme violence. Following an incident at the diner Billy and Frank go on the run and they head to Frank's 'mentor' Chandler, who is an obese paedophile, who has undergone electrotherapy in an attempt to 'cure' him but has left him even more damaged. The backstory of all three characters is slowly revealed as they plot and carry out a crime to fund the escape, to Canada, of Billy and Frank, which will have devastating consequences for all involved.
I really enjoyed this novel and Jerkins writing but it did create a dilemma within myself. I felt empathy for these characters but then I felt guilty for having such feelings for such 'bad' people. Jerkins writes from the three main characters points of view and by doing this he manages to justify the actions of each of them, through their own twisted logic. You are asked to internally debate as to whether people are born to be criminals or are they a victim of their own upbringing, environment and circumstances or is it a combination of these things ? The novel, as dark as it is, is also full of humour, albeit very dark humour and I actually laughed out loud at a couple of passages. Billy, although not very bright, obsesses over certain topics that he has heard about, these being 'chaos theory' and also global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer. He applies these topics to everyday events and also into conversation with others and I found this to be very funny.
In summary, a very good crime novel that is both fun and thought provoking and I think one that'll stay with me for some time. Now I'll have to seek out more of Grant Jerkins works.
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1878 KB
- Print Length: 274 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1515288331
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: ABC Group Documentation (30 September 2016)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01M1240DZ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 11 customer ratings
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#858,825 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #783229 in Kindle eBooks