Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Book Review: Nefarious Twit
3 Stars - Recommended to readers who can forgive a cool story its rough writing
Publisher: Branch Hand Books
Released: Dec 2013
Debut novels are tricky little things. Especially when you read reviews where said debut is described as "if so-and-so-super-famous-author and so-and-so-super-famous-author had a baby and that baby ended up on an acid trip and wrote a book". Cause you know... I mean, c'mon, you KNOW it's not gonna compare to those super-famous-author peoples. They've been honing their skills for years. They've had a shit-ton of practice and some pretty hard-core editors tearing their shit up. And if you read the first book or two that they published, you'll see that back then, even THEY weren't so great. Not back then. Not when compared to what they can write NOW. So can we all agree to stop promoting every new debut author by claiming that they are on par with literary super-gods? Cool? Yes?
Because, to be fair to the debut author and what they are bringing to the book at hand, we should really just judge them against, well, themselves. And go in with no (but not low) expectations. This way, if they suck, we might not think they are as sucky as if, say, we were expecting so-and-so-famous-author awesomeness. And if they are great, we can actually say they are great without worrying about the comparison to so-and-so-famous-author so they can be great within their own right.
So why the chatty intro about debut novelists and comparisons to other authors?
Well, frankly, I wasn't sure how else to start this review. See, Tony McMillen is making his debut with Nefarious Twit, and prior to picking up the book, I had read reviews where he'd been compared to some similar-in-concept-but-in-my-opinion-not-similar-in-writing-strength authors aaaaand I'm pretty sure those comparisons caused me to expect something a bit... more from this book than it was capable of giving. Which left me a bit frustrated and may have affected the way I read it, which isn't exactly fair to the book or the author.
I was well aware of this bias as I went into it and tried to be less critical when grammatical errors, strange phrasing or wonky sentence structure reached up off the page and slapped me in the face.
Tony's approach to the story itself was interesting. The narrator played it close to both the reader and the characters, behaving as our guide and confidante as we progressed from chapter to chapter. He would begin each chapter with little pro-tips, letting us know if it contained information that was important to the plot or additional backstory on a main character. He even warned us away if a particular chapter was heavy on violence - though, let's be honest, there's not a whole lot that I'd find too violent or excessive, did you forget that I grew up on a steady diet of Stephen King and that I'm a fan of bizarro lit?!
At its core, Nefarious Twit is a book about books, a book about drugs, murder and mayhem, and a book about family, for better or worse. Our main man Rick is the son of Nefarious Twit, estranged father and legendary children's book author. Rick's mother recently committed suicide and he's bringing his half-brother Lou along on a hunt for dear ole dad. This won't be a warm and fuzzy family reunion. Oh no. Rick is going after him for some revenge, and he's removing the final page in every copy of his father's book along the way. There are drugs and lots of them. Strange and trippy things happen. Tiny time travelling alien things happen to Lou. Hard things happen to Rick's face. There are girls and then there are dead girls. And there are no happy endings. Sorry, but it's just not that sort of book.
If you can forgive the blatant overuse of drugs as a plot device, and the somewhat slow and repetitive story telling for favor of a cool tale of jealousy and revenge, then go ahead and bury your nose inside this one.