Saturday, 2 July 2016

You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames - A Review

This novella (94 pages) dropped through my letter box yesterday morning. As is usually the case with Pushkin Vertigo books, the blurb made it sound really promising. It is now 5 hours or so since I finished it and I still don't quite know how I feel about it.

The story is a fairly straightforward one - the daughter of a senator has been taken and put into the sex trade, he has a lead and hires Joe, ex Marine, ex FBI to get her back. The thing is, Joe has seen things that have left him damaged. He is the typical 'hero type', loner, broken, violent and his back story explains the reasoning behind his ways quite well. I think the problem I had was that the story was too short and could have been easily expanded a little. Also, Joe, as flawed as he is, comes across as a bit of a psychopath at times and by his final actions here seems to be on a darker path that probably will not end well for him, but we may never know as the story ends with the job only half done.

Good points - punchy prose, brutal violence and a lead character that could carry a series (apparently it is soon to be a feature film starring Joaquin Phoenix).

Bad points - the story felt too short and ended too abruptly with the job only partly done, almost as if this is just a teaser trailer for the main event to come

3/5* - I enjoyed it enough but felt slightly cheated at the final page

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