cover image Lamentation


Joe Clifford. Oceanview (Midpoint, dist.), $25.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-60809-133-1

Jay Porter, the narrator of this powerful novel set during a bitter New Hampshire winter, is drifting through life, stuck in his hometown, where he has a dead-end job sorting junk and a hopeless relationship with his ex-girlfriend and their toddler son. He’s marinating in sour anger that spills out at those who criticize his listless existence—largely because he realizes they’re right. When his junkie older brother, Chris, is suspected of murdering his partner in a computer recycling computer business, Jay is barely motivated to help; he doesn’t believe Chris’s statement that the hard drive of a discarded computer contained evidence of an evil conspiracy. It gradually becomes obvious, though, that local powerbrokers are panicked about something on the missing drive, so Jay has one last chance at salvation if he’s able to act. Clifford (Junkie Love) understands human potential for moral collapse and redemption, and his lean, gritty prose never lets characters or readers off the hook. [em]Agent: Elizabeth Kracht, Kimberly Cameron & Assoc. (Oct.) [/em]