Thursday, November 27, 2014
Book Review: King Shit
3 Stars - Recommended to those who appreciate Sam Pink and Charles Bukowski and the likes for their scrapin-the-bottom-of-the-barrel outlook on humanity
Publisher: House of Vlad
Released: June 2014
Disclaimer: Yes, I am quoted on the second page inside this novel. And yes, I am the only blurb on the back cover. No, that super squee-worthy, holy-fucking-awesome fact has had no impact on the honesty of this review. And no, I really don't care if you don't believe me.
King Shit is a super-shortie. No, not the dude himself, though I guess he's not really all that much to look at if we take him at his word. He's a scrawny, pudgy bellied, thin haired guy rumored to have been named for either Elvis "The King" Presley or Elvis "the shy and geeky" Costello. Either way, we get the sense our main man falls extremely short of both namesakes.
In this shorter-than-novella sized illustrated story, we are taken on a night out with Elvis and his right hand man Ralph and are made to bear witness to the oh-so-sad shenanigans that follow. Bar crawling around town, they rub elbows with an obese Mexican Santa, a strange jukebox bike riding fella in a lavender suit, an ex-girlfriend of Elvis's who parades her lady-parts around in front of her current beau (an angry dwarf of a dude), two grease-heads puking it up in the men's room, and a whole lot of nothing to go home to.
Typical of Brian Alan Ellis, we're hanging with the grimy, dingy underbelly of society here. His characters are the kind of slimy, pickled, sleazy bastards that, were they to slide their squishy behinds onto the bar stools next to yours, you'd quickly down the drink you were nursing and find a reason to up and excuse yourself before they attempted to suck you into one of their bad-breathed ballads of woe.
Ellis's straight forward approach to storytelling can be compared to that of Sam Pink and Charles Bukowski. His uncanny ability to humbly dress his characters in yesterday's dirty, beer soaked, rumpled clothing and march them back and forth from place to place like it ain't no big thang speaks directly to the insecurities in each of us. And the fact that this is the norm for these guys, that they think this is what life is and are living it the only way they know how, that's fascinating to us.
I only wish we had been given more time to get to know these guys. I get the sense there is much more to them, more raggedy adventures to be had. That their stories are only just beginning.