The Castaway Lounge

Jon Boilard. Dzanc (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-938103-01-8
Trapped in a western Massachusetts mill town in the mid-1980s, the hard-boiled characters in Boilard’s latest speak with the loquaciousness of Elmore Leonard’s best and act with the viciousness of the thugs patrolling Frank Miller’s Sin City. Applejack is a backroom fighter and muscle for hire, but after a botched job for the owner of the local strip club, The Castaway Lounge, which results in the death of a young girl, he tries to leave some of his troubled past behind. Along with Suzanne, one of the Castaway’s newest dancers, he intends to leave a troubled past behind, yet violence follows Applejack, and it isn’t long before both the police and the dead girl’s angry family are investigating her case, leaving Applejack with the realization that he has to make things right before moving on. Filled with sex, drugs, booze, and alien abductions, Boilard (A River Closely Watched) crafts a page-turner that adheres to the tried and true tropes of the genre—tough guys, easy women, fractured heroes. Amid leaps in time and playful character names such as Boy Country and Two Beer Dick, perhaps the highlight is the numerous side stories and asides, which have no direct impact on the main narrative but result in a richer, more authentic story. The reader may want to take a shower after finishing the novel, however. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/25/2015
Release date: 07/01/2015
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