Sunday, July 17, 2011

King Scratch

King ScratchKing Scratch by Jordan Krall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When moonshine runner Jim Steam gets a call from his ex-wife to check on her father, things quickly spiral out of control in a monsoon of car crashes, squid moonshine, weird fetishes, and pancakes. Will Jim survive the night?

Wow. I don't know what I was expecting with King Scratch but it wasn't this. I was hooked from the first page when Keith sticks a matchstick in his urethra. King Scatch is a great Bizarro noir story. All the classic noir elements are there: betrayal, violence, betrayal, sex, violence, betrayal, etc. Throw in the Krall standbys like bizarre fetishes, squids, and crabs, and you've got a winner on your hands.

The writing is the star of the show here. I love how the narrative goes from first person during the Jim chapters and third person in the other ones. After the second car accident, I stopped trying to figure out where the story was going. Moonshine made from squid parts? Yuck!

The characters were up to noir standards. Jim's the down on his luck lead, Peggy's his conniving girlfriend, Laura's his conniving ex-wife, and Kevin is the weird guy you're not to sure about.

Any gripes? It was too short, I guess. I wasn't a tremendous fan of the ending, either. Other than that, no regrets. If you liked Squid Pulp Blues, you'll like this.

To sum up, Jordan Krall has done it again. King Scratch is a non-stop pulp page turner, full of twists and turns. Go buy it right now!

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