Monday, September 19, 2016


I apologize in advance for bringing up politics in this review. But recently a number of supporters of  U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump were referred to as a "basket of deplorables." Many people had an issue with that. The thing is, it's not much of a stretch to imagine the two main characters in this novel voting for him, and they are the very definition of deplorable. Publisher All Due Respect has truly lived up to their mission statement of delivering 'low-life fiction," by showing us some of the lowest of the low here.

Lee Williams is a bitter, damaged, directionless man who has just been released from prison and thrown into America's Great Recession. He is haunted and broken not only by his years as a sex toy for various gangs on the inside, but also by his abuse from his mother, and his fantasies of tying her up and torturing her. But it's not until he moves in with his cousin Jeff, a Neo Nazi Iraq vet with a blown-up face gearing up for a race war, that he's really able to express himself and let loose all of the urges that have been building in him all along.
Lee swore he would never smoke crack again yet kept looking at the floor as though expecting to see some there.
My emotions toward this story ran the whole gamut. There were times where I was totally disgusted, where it felt like sloppy crime porn and the author was just trying to see how much he could shock the reader. There were a few times where I thought I'd made a mistake purchasing this and I was going to put it down. Lee and Jeff are truly pieces of shit, and it's a real challenge to be so entrenched in their point of view. Miller's writing is so uncompromising and direct that it's hard to take at times. But it's also these things that make it difficult to put down, and ultimately makes it a must read for people who might deny this dark side of America. Miller is showing us how it's possible that the bigoted sickness that simmers below the surface of our country can come bubbling to the surface and how certain people can latch onto that and make it fester. As I watch the news everyday, I can't think of a better year for this book to have been released.

There are only the barest of plots here, instead it's more of a character study of a man taking a drug-addled, violent exploration of his own hatred. It hurts to read but it's something that I ultimately couldn't turn away from. Check out the passage below from a scene where Lee gets crack-high and you'll know what to expect from this crazed, rabid hyena of a novel. I struggled a bit with how to grade this. But, even if this turns out not to be my favorite read this year, I can't think of a book that will prove to be more important.
What fucking problems?
The only "problems" he had were monetary and these could be fixed the next day. 
He'd go back out and sign spin. He'd go out with the Mexicans and do day labor. He'd rob banks! He'd get that money, one way or the other, then he'd get wheels, he'd get that chromed out black Dually. He'd get tools, he'd do renovations. He'd be an independent contractor. He'd have business cards. He'd make some money, put that into a house, he'd fix that house up, then he'd sell that house. Profit. He'd take that money and buy two more houses, fix them up. Sell them. Profit. He'd buy some rental units. Income stream! Profit!! He'd give out money to everyone he knew. To everyone who deserved it. He'd buy Jeff his face back. That's why he was so fucking crazy, of course! He'd buy Gary his house and his wife and his daughter and his other kids and his life back. Then he'd kill all of them. He'd kill at random. He'd fuck all the pussies of all the women in the world. He'd tie Gary up and fuck his dead wife in front of him! He'd decorate the inside of a church with the bones of thousands! He would never be stopped because no one could stop him. His powers would spread outwards forever and ever and ever until they encircled the entire universe, then Lee would begin squeezing...
But for now Lee needed music and more crack.

1 comment:

  1. As one of the publishers of this novel, I had some very similar reactions. A couple of times I felt myself so strongly identifying with the main character because of the skill of Miller's writing, that I kind of felt like him during one of the horrible murders and that was chilling.


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