Thursday, 18 March 2010

MISC REVIEW: Abattoir Jack - Christopher Neilan


At the age of 22, Jack is going nowhere. Stuck in a New Mexico backwater, slicing dead cattle for a living, he is ready to seize any opportunity to make something of his life. So when his workmate Ed tells him about the $25,000 stashed in a bus station locker in San Francisco, and when he meets and falls for the beautiful De S'anna, a sweet Italian supernova of sweat and lips and purple-black hair, the two events propel him into a journey of love, drugs, madness and determination as he tries to make real those two seductive mirages, the accidental fortune and the perfect love. Christopher Neilan's debut novel is a coruscating tale told in vibrant, visceral prose. Funny, sexy, poetic, thrilling and endlessly inventive, 'Abattoir Jack' is a very impressive achievement.


As a reader I am prepared to give most authors a go be they knew or established and when this offering from a new publisher landed on my floor I thought what the hell. Picking up this title was not only an experience but also quite a short lived one. Whilst I won’t say that it doesn’t have a lot of promise the author overstuffed the book rather than perhaps going for the less is more attitude which made parts of this clunky which was a great shame. Had a bit more editing gone in it would have been successful in achieving its target even if the title was a tad predictable. What did work extremely well was the author’s character voice that came through strongly and gave the sense of something deeper seeking ways to the surface demonstrating that there is definitely something within the author that means I will be keeping an eye on successive titles.

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