Read 1/26/10 - 2/01/10
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended
A huge thanks must go out to Greg Olear (and Harper Publishing) for sending me this review copy of Totally Killer! He has been extremely and wonderfully patient with me.
I'm going to let his bio from Goodreads introduce him:
"Greg Olear (OH-lee-ar) was born in New Jersey in 1972 (Scorpio with Leo Rising). In 1991, he graduated from Madison High School and enrolled at Georgetown University, where he received a B.A. in English Literature. He spent a post-college decade in New York, working a variety of jobs -- administrative assistant, benefits coordinator, writer of SAT practice questions, web designer, infomercial voice-over artist, freelance journalist, graphic designer, astrologer, keyboard player, indie record company manager, recruiter—- before escaping to Highland, N.Y., where he now lives with his family. His writing has appeared in WhAP!, Hudson Valley Magazine, and Chronogram. He is a frequent contributor to The Nervous Breakdown. Totally Killer is his first novel. "
One of the downsides of requesting review copies is the potential to become overwhelmingly bogged down and backed up... In my case, books are coming in faster than I can read them. This one was calling me from the top of my bookcase for quite awhile, and I was so happy to finally start it. I nearly squealed with joy when I opened to the first page and saw a photocopied list of some of my favorite songs from that decade! And it came with this awesome sticker that has a big 1991 on it!!
The story takes place in NYC during the early nineties - where the 80's style and music are slowly taking a back seat to the grunge movement, and GenXer's are stepping up to the employment plate. Mixed tapes are all the rage, call waiting and caller ID are still a few years away, and MTV is about to turn the world of television upside down with our first ever unscripted reality show.
We are introduced to our loyal narrator Todd, who shares his apartment with our leading lady Taylor, a NYC implant who dreams of working at a publishing company. After some pretty lame interviews that get her nowhere, she is mysteriously recommended to Quid Pro Quo, a super secret, super posh employment agency that promises to land you the job of your dreams...Though, should you decide to keep it, there is a price to be paid.
Just how does Quid Pro Quo manage to place all of their customers into such great high paying, amazingly hard to come by, dream come true positions? Well... let's break it down, shall we?
For starters - Our main characters are the children of the Baby boomers. Baby boomers are known to be a very hard working, let me show you what I can do for you, generation. A generation of people who, at the time our story takes place, were currently holding down all the available, desirable jobs. And rightly so, they put thier blood, sweat, and tears into attaining them. And there they planned to stay. They were standing in the way of the hopeful new GenX graduates, who pooled out into the workforce with a diploma in hand, but no experience to back it all up. And these poor GenXer's were struggling to find employment - there were just no jobs to be had.
Now take the Quid Pro Quo agency, who cleverly named themselves after the Latin term "Something for Something" or more commonly translated as "This for That". A term that tends to be used as a form of bribery or... in this case, for our innocent and unknowing friends Todd and Taylor...blackmail.
So... You want a dream job? You go through Quid Pro Quo. You think the positions they offer you are too good to be true? Perhaps they are. Perhaps they ask you if it is a job worth killing for. Just how far would you be willing to go to keep that incredibly awesome, once in a lifetime job? What might happen should you not be willing to comply with their terms of service?
Described as "part thriller, part satire, part period piece"... Greg Olear manages to make Totally Killer grab you on multiple levels. Nostalgic, noirish, covered in conspiracy and historical drama... this is a book that all GenXer's can appreciate.
But please don't take my word on it. Grab a copy and check it our for yourself. (I would hide it away from any baby boomers though - we wouldn't want to cause them any unnecessary concern!)
Stay tuned for an author interview with with the author of Totally Killer, Greg Olear. And in the meantime, check him out in The Nervous Breakdown and play around with the cool links, novel soundtrack, and videos on the Totally Killer website!