Friday 20 November 2015

REVIEW: Jon Bassoff - The Disassembled Man

Genre: Horror / Noir
Publisher: DarkFuse
Publication Date: 31st May 2015
Pages: 180

I received an advance copy of The Disassembled Man by Jon Bassoff from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by DarkFuse.

This is my first outing into the world of Jon Bassoff. I have heard many a good thing about his work but just never got around to reading any of it. I have had this one on the Kindle for a while but couldn’t ever get myself in the general mood to read it for some reason. What happened when I finally did?

Frankie Avicious has no hope left. He has a colourful past but a very bleak future. Stuck in a dead end job slaughtering cattle on a conveyor belt, his wife threatening to leave him and a local nutcase threatening to kill him because of his affair with the local stripper Scarlett, where does he turn?

When a mysterious travelling salesman tries to guide him in a direction that will change his life forever, Frankie takes his advice and embarks on a journey of murder, some more murder, and a little bit of murder for good measure.

If Frankie doesn’t stop soon, that future is just going to keep getting darker and darker.

Well now. Surreal is a word that pops into my head after reading this one. Definitely surreal. With a bit of dark noir, blood and guts and definitely a bit of WTF?

Our main character in this one, Frankie, is an interesting chap. One minute you find yourself feeling quite sorry for him in a way and then you remember what he has done, is doing and is thinking about doing and you sort of hate him. A lot. Then you feel sorry for him a little bit more. He is a despicable person. Rotten to the core with no signs of getting any better. His wife is in a sorry state of affairs and this is largely due to Frankie’s behaviour. She is a bit pathetic but so gullible I couldn’t feel sorry for her. Scarlett the stripper is only out for money. She doesn’t love Frankie but she will if the price is right.

We have a mixture of others in this story that flit in and out of the story. None of them are exactly what you could call endearing but all fit into the story very well.

The plot is something I cannot tell you a lot about for fear of spoiling the story for you. All I can really say is Frankie doesn’t want his wife but does want Scarlet. He needs money to snare her and he will stop at nothing to get it.

This story is a rollercoaster ride of bizarre noir with a little bit of mystery and oodles of dark humour thrown in. It’s a straight forward story in the fact that you know early on exactly what Frankie has planned and what he needs to do to fulfil those plans but at the same time it takes a lot of very unexpected turns meaning he has to pause and regroup a few times before he can continue on his quest.

I did like the writing style of this. I’ve mentioned noir. It does have that feeling of early movies with dark, misty settings where all business is conducted in dark alleys or shady bars filled with smoke and piano music. In reality, it’s set in a hot and humid desert location that couldn’t be any further from dark. To achieve this feeling in that location is a big plus for me. The humour used throughout did have me giggling quite a lot. A lot of the humour is not exactly what you could call politically correct. I like that Mr Bassoff had the guts to write like that but at the same time, my jaw did hit the table a couple of times.

As an introduction to someone new, to me, this may not be the right book to read. One or two times I did think it was a bit bizarre and lost a bit of interest but then when you read on, the interest gets piqued again. I can see where some people however could put this one down half way through and not go back to it. My message would be to persevere. Although not your average straight forward tale, it is worth a read and is very entertaining.

To summarise: noir with a lot of dark humour where you have to put aside your political correctness and just go with the flow. Bizarre in places with blood and guts a plenty, the twists and turns will keep you reading to the end purely to see how life pans out for Frankie.

General rating:

★★★★ Great read but just missed that something.

Horror / Noir rating:

★★★★ see above.

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Book Synopsis:

Frankie Avicious is a hard-luck fellow with a sordid past. Living in a dreary meatpacking town, stuck in a loveless marriage, and spending his days slaughtering cattle, Frankie has nothing to look forward to but his next swallow of bargain whiskey. His wife is threatening to leave him, and the local sociopath is threatening to kill him. And then there's Scarlett Acres, a stripper with a heart of fool's gold. Frankie can't stop thinking about her . . .

With the encouragement of a mysterious traveling salesman, Frankie sets out to reverse his destiny through a series of bizarre murders. The consequences of his brutality turn out to be far worse than even he could imagine.

Jon Bassoff was born in 1974 in New York City and currently lives in a ghost town somewhere in Colorado. His mountain gothic novel, CORROSION, was called "startlingly original and unsettling" by Tom Piccirilli, a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, and won the DarkFuse Reader's Choice Award for best novel. His surrealistic follow-up, FACTORY TOWN, was called "A hallucinatory descent into an urban hell" by Bram Stoker award-winning author Ramsey Campbell. Both novels have been adapted into films with CORROSION slated to begin filming in 2015.

And for more about Jon, visit his site or find him on social media:

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