cover image Kill Kill Faster Faster

Kill Kill Faster Faster

Joel Rose. Crown Publishers, $21 (212pp) ISBN 978-0-517-70819-4

Meet Joey One-Way: junkie, murderer, ex-convict. And the newest and brightest celebrity writer in the U.S. Rose's second novel (after Kill the Poor) is a satire of contemporary America, land of opportunity even for convicted murderers. While in prison for killing his wife (the mother of his twin daughters), Joey wrote a play about his experiences. The play became a Broadway hit and was optioned by a big-time Hollywood producer, who has worked the deal to spring Joey early so that he can write the screenplay. Staccato rhythms and street vernacular give the narrative a genuine, manic music as it tells of Joey's life on New York's streets, in prison and among the media elite as he has a fling with the wife of his producer sugar daddy. Though initially alluring, the rapid-fire voice (even when it adapts grammatically to a third-person point of view) never breaks free of the tight confines from which Joey sees the world. The satirical elements work best when they approach the ridiculous but don't cross the line. Rose's acid view of a celebrity- and media-driven society comes through in the mere setup of the book. But it runs into a cul-de-sac of the obvious when Joey begins talking about the World Wide Web and subsidiary rights at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The pace is relentless, and the descriptions are brutal. Sex and death drive the narrative from page one. That they occur in such liberal amounts--and that both author and narrator seem to derive so much pleasure in the telling--makes it hard to differentiate this novel from the hype-drenched landscape it purports to satirize. Author tour. (Apr.)