Sunday, 10 September 2017

THE UNRAVELING OF BRENDAN MEEKS by Brian Cohn @briancohnMD

5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Amazon.com
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book:  it was submitted to Rosie Amber's Review Team, of which I am a member.  I had previously read The Last Detective by this author, and very much liked his writing style.

Brendan Meeks is schizophrenic.  He thinks his head contains an important, secret code, and that mysterious men in dark suits are trying to get inside his brain.  He comes from an affluent, middle class, dysfunctional family; his mother is cold and aspirational, his father a weak shadow, but his sister is the one light in his life.  Brendan lives in a run down apartment block, where his friends are a druggie, a drunkard and a dealer, but they've become his new family.

When tragedy strikes, Brendan is sure that the police are not doing enough to solve the crime, and takes on his own investigation.  Trouble is, he is unable to tell what is truth and what is just the voices in his head...

'My voices commanded me to do awful things, like jump off a bridge or slit my throat or step out into traffic.  They never told me to do anything useful or productive, like, 'Eat more vegetables' or 'Don't forget to floss'.'

I read this book over just two days, it's very good indeed.  Brendan is likeable and totally believable, and every character, even the minor ones, shine out.  Mr Cohn's writing style is intelligent, incisive, and subtly amusing, which is just right for this unusual and highly original story.  Cliché alert: I couldn't put it down!

Brendan makes some excellent observations:

About a DEA officer ~ 'His voice was low and soft, with a backwoods Louisiana accent, Cajun and Creole and jambalaya all mixed together.  I envisioned him living in a house on stilts, driving a fan boat and wrestling alligators in his spare time.  He probably put Tabasco sauce in his coffee'.

About a dealer: '...a pudgy white guy with short blond hair ... he looked like a bloated Eminem, and I wondered if he had eaten the rapper and taken on some of his persona in the process'.

The plot itself is interesting, some of it almost black humour, but it's tragic, too, and I had no idea what the outcome would be.  When it came, it wrapped all the threads up nicely, and gave me hope for Brendan too.  I don't throw 5* around but this book definitely deserves it.  The author has masses of genuine talent, the sort you can't learn, or fake with 'by-numbers' plots.  Highly recommended!

5 comments:

  1. Fabulous review, thank you Terry.

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  2. This sounds interesting and those quotes are fabulous!

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    1. It's an awesome book - and those quotes were just a few, it's got great lines all the way through :)

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  3. I meant to read your review for this book the other day but got sidetracked. The title and the cover just drew me to it. Fab review, this book sounds brilliant. I will definitely be reading it.

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