Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Lee Thompson seems to be an author who is constantly challenging himself, dabbling in a
variety of genres, and forcing himself to explore difficult themes with increasing ambition. He reminds me a little of Walter Mosley in that way. That alone makes him an exciting writer worthy of notice. He's written respected work in horror, dark supernatural, mystery, and inner-city crime drama. I wouldn't be surprised if he dabbled in some erotica next. With this novel, The Lesser People, he tackles a coming-of-age historical drama, and racism in rural Mississippi. It's about a dying old man who tells the story of the dark days when he was a child and discovered the body of a lynched and mutilated young black boy in the woods. This discovery not only haunts him but causes a chain reaction that threatens to destroy his innocence and break apart his town and his family. 
His eyes were filling with tears, and I knew he was going to tell me a story about the love that got away, for as strong as men try to appear, it's love like that and all the questions it brings, that hounds them until their final day.
Thompson's work walks that jagged line of being both staggeringly brutal and beautifully touching, as if he believes that those two facets are two sides of the same old coin; you can't have one without the other. That's what I like the most about his work and that characteristic is still on display here. And although this book has some of the best prose that I've read from Thompson so far, this one wasn't as all-out enjoyable as the other books I've read by him. It sports a great beginning and an emotional ending that really brought everything together in a great way, but much of the middle of the novel gradually lost much of the story's urgency and momentum. But that ending definitely made up for it. 

I can feel that there's a true masterpiece or six in Lee Thompson's mind that's just boiling, ready to jump out. And who knows, there's still some work of his that I haven't read so maybe they're just sitting there waiting for me. And if they haven't popped up yet, his work is still awesome enough that I'm having a great time witnessing his journey to get there. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

TRUE CRIME by Samantha Kolesnik

Everyone called you sweet before they defiled you. A virgin was nothing if not ripe for the teeth.
This shocking debut novella follows a young girl named Suzy and her brother Lim, on a killing spree after escaping their abusive mother. It's an intense character piece exploring what might lead to the creation of a sociopath like Suzy. With staggering and powerfully insightful prose, Author Samantha Kolesnik is unflinching, pulling absolutely no punches here, forcing us to go on this journey with Suzy and to have some sort of relative empathy for her. 
I wondered how the world made its villains and why it never apologized for making them.
Featuring a protagonist that’s a killer with very little remorse is a tricky line to walk, but in my opinion, Kolesnik really pulls it off. I felt her connection to her brother, which is not exactly love, but a primal bond of mutual understanding and protection. I saw that pain is the only true feeling she could recognize and I understood that seeing the desperation and survival instinct in other victims was the only thing she could relate to. Although it’s disheartening and uncomfortable, I found myself understanding her pain and inner corrosion and by the second half of the book, hoping that at some point the little girl inside the damaged shell would have a chance to come out and be free. 
When people prayed to God, I wondered, were they praying to Him or were they praying to me? I couldn't quite see a difference in that moment.