on Dec. 17, 2017 :
Very interesting, well worth reading - a revenge story set in the American punk scene, in something like the present day.
Nik, a recovering heroin addict sets out on a road trip to kill a bunch of punk douchebags. For the first couple of chapters it's not explicitly clear what gender Nik actually is. Then it's revealed that Nik has transitioned from a woman and now identifies as a homosexual male.
I felt this added a level of complexity that the novel didn't really need. It was already overflowing with good ideas. Also I felt like the gender issues were only superficially explored. There are pages and pages about heroin, surely the gender-transition deserves a bit more attention? I can't help but think this would have been a tougher/better book if Nik was female all the way through.
The other criticism I have is that the ending is a little of an anti-climax. Throughout the book we have a building up of this Harley character into something like a mythical sociopath, that Nik must confront and defeat. Then we get to the end and surprise - Harley has changed and become a real nice guy. In fact, Nik is the sociopath. There's no final conflict.
What else? I really liked the descriptions of the punk scene. I liked the character of Lori a lot. Some of the murders were quite gratuitous and creative in a good way. In contrast I felt there wasn't anything particularly original about the heroin subplot and I thought Nik blabbed on about it way too much.
I have probably sounded critical so far. However I really liked this book. It caught my attention and I wanted to know what would happen next. One of the best stories I've found on smashwords.
For more reviews check out: http://bench-press.blogspot.com.au/
(reviewed 48 days after purchase)
on June 15, 2017 :
There are so many fates and lifetimes and identities in this that it's hard to believe it's just a novella. There's not the confusion you would expect from the multiplicity of stories, either: somewhere in here is a transcendant, uniting mind, mixing and editing stories and plans like the mix tape of the title.
With the Californian setting and the drugs and the conflict between revenge and redemption, it reminds me strongly of Seth Morgan's brilliant "Homeboy," but that's a huge novel, and I grew closer to the characters over many, many pages, whereas here, Nik had me on his side from page one.
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)