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Colin Dodds is a writer. He grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He is the author of several novels, including WINDFALL and The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” His poetry has appeared in more than two hundred seventy publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology. The poet and songwriter David Berman (Silver Jews, Actual Air) said of Dodds’ poetry: “These are very good poems. For moments I could even feel the old feelings when I read them.” His book-length poem That Happy Captive was named a finalist in both the Trio House Press Louise Bogan Award and the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award. And his screenplay, Refreshment, was named a semi-finalist in the 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. Colin lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter. You can find more of his work at thecolindodds.com.
on May 27, 2015 :
An apocalyptic story with a sense of humor
Thank you Colin Dodds for your hard work and commitment to this worthwhile endeavor.
The Last Bad Job is an apocalyptic story with a sense of humor. Author Colin Dodds populates his novel with such small “d” despicable characters, seedy settings and immoral scenarios this reader didn’t really care that the majority of them would come to a gruesome, meaningless end.
What makes this novel standout, makes it exceptional is the writing – natural dialogue, characterization through action, exact diction and an imaginative plot that doesn’t let you catch your breath.
Our protagonist, best described as an anti-hero, is an investigative reporter assigned to do a story on an apocalyptic cult and it’s leader, Dizzy Sheehan. The assignment entails living with the group and right away he compromises his objectivity by participating in cult activities like having sex with the female members. This is the first, but certainly not the last demonstration of his almost complete lack of any sense of morals or integrity.
As time ticks down toward the predicted dooms day he escapes the compound and, when one of the leader’s bodyguards comes after him, kills him in self-defense.
Rather than give himself up to the authorities and explain what happened he goes on the lam. Why he chooses to become a fugitive isn’t explained? This one of a couple of plot directions that stretched the suspension of belief for this reader.
While the reporter/fugitive is in hiding the members of the cult, anticipating the end of the world, commit mass suicide. He has all the inside information that would make this Pulitzer Prize story and yet he doesn’t write the story or contact his editor. Again, Dodds gives little explanation for this behavior other than he’s an alcoholic whose gone from recovering to rediscovering and isn’t too mentally stable.
As the reporter’s life spins more and more out of control, and Dizzy’s prediction of the apocalypse begins to unfold he comes to believe he has been chosen for some special purpose and, indeed, he has.
Dodds really does a job on journalists depicting them as self-absorbed, cynical for no good reason, arrogant and condescending – hey, I’ve got colleagues like that. None of his characters are likeable which usually is a fatal flaw for a novel, but in the case of The Last Bad Job, the author’s dark humor and unique insights kept me reading.
His phantasmagoria twist on the apocalypse is the work of remarkable inventiveness.
Unfortunately, for a story so filled with imagination Dodds chose an ending that has become a cliché for novels dealing with this subject matter.
I downloaded this novel free from Smashwords as part of my commitment to review the work of independently published authors. This review will (eventually) be posted on
Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ
(reviewed 30 days after purchase)
Mary C. Moore
on Jan. 08, 2013 :
Sex, drugs, and... a cult? Dodds takes us on one hell of an adventure. Seen from the first person perspective of a journalist, (a recovering alcoholic and somewhat self-absorbed, self-destructive persona) we are thrown into the story by observing the suicide of the girl he's been sleeping with, who also happens to be a member of a insane end-of-the-world cult. The journalist, who is not named, has been sent on assignment to observe the cult master "Dizzy" and his loony pseudo religious ways out in the desert. There are rumors of a soon to be mass suicide by members of the cult in anticipation of the coming of the end. The journalist is torn between disgust and enjoyment of the sexually free and absolutely manic atmosphere. His reality is shaken with the suicide and he grapples with the decision to stay and get a career making story or to leave and wash himself clean of the crazy. The choice is made for him by one of Dizzy's henchmen, and the journalist ends up fleeing a murder scene with blood stained hands. He seeks refuge in a small roadside hotel deep in the California valley and cocoons himself in paranoia and his old friend alcohol. From that point things keep unraveling as he gets tangled with an arms dealer and coke whore. As his world gets smaller and he keeps running, the journalist discovers maybe Dizzy's crazy apocalyptic premonitions weren't so crazy after all.
I throughly enjoyed this book. It was a nutty whirlwind of a novel, reminding me of A. C. Weisbecker's "Cosmic Banditos" but with a much darker and hellish undertone. The main character is totally unsympathetic and you know it's not going to end well, yet as a reader you stick with him, screaming the whole way down. The writing is masterful, thus I was not surprised by Dodd's impressive writing resume.
The end left a little to be desired. It was one of those vague and foggy ending where you are not sure what actually happened, or who was behind it, and you really wanted to know, but the journey to the end was so enjoyable that it didn't really matter.
I would highly recommend this to fans of dark humor and dystopian futures.
(reviewed the day of purchase)