That’s the conventional manosphere wisdom anyway, and there’s some truth to it. Given the Cosmo/feminist idea that men are nothing more than breathing dildos who exist to get girls off—and if the girl doesn’t orgasm, it’s always his fault—it’s not surprising that some guys would overreact in the opposite direction.
Beyond the Bush is the debut novel by Robert Ignatius Dillon, who I know absolutely nothing about. The only reason I read the book is because it’s the first release from Ann Sterzinger’s Hopeless Books that wasn’t written by Sterzinger herself; she sent me a review copy some time ago. To date, this is the only writing of any kind that Dillon has had published under this name.
Which leaves me without any sort of framework to build this review on.
The most recent release in Adam Lawson’sCigars and Legs series, The White Dames is a collection of three short stories following private eye Ron Cavanaugh through three seemingly disparate but interrelated cases. If you’re looking for snappy dialogue, sultry dames and murder, look no further:
Smoking a long cigarette, or rather letting it accumulate ashes in her hands, was a young woman, maybe twenty-one or twenty-two, and built with the typical Donnelly tall and lithe form, legs up to here and bare up to her dangerously short blue jean shorts. She wore a red top that didn’t cover her abdomen and a big pair of dark sunglasses over her eyes. Blond hair spilled out from under her white hat.
In many ways, extreme beauty can be terrifying, mainly because beauty is inhuman. The human race is ugly to average; obese Section 8 baby mamas, moralizing Baptists, drugged-up gays plugging each other in public bathrooms. When a man sees a beautiful woman, or a person in general sees a virtuous individual, their instinctive reaction is fear, fear of something that is rare, uncommon, and potentially dangerous.
The sequel to Adam Lawson’s The Boots Are Red, this book follows private eye Ron Cavanaugh as he investigates the Salt Marsh, the crime syndicate that runs his home town. Now in a relationship with the sultry Audrey Carmen, the stakes are raised when she finds herself embroiled in the Salt Marsh’s nefarious plots:
“What’s the password?” An equally seedy voice asked.
Password? What is this, the 1920s? I fished around in my pocket and produced a ten dollar bill. “Hamilton,” I said.
The problem with reading a novelist’s first book after their later ones is that since most writers improve as they get older, you can’t help but view their earlier work in the context of what they’re putting out now. Flaws in their characterization and prose that have been smoothed over or eliminated in later works jut out like pilonidal cysts. Since first novels typically are more autobiographical than later ones, you have to resist viewing the book as an exercise in self-indulgence. Even if the book is really good—as is the case with talented writers—you’ll always think less of it than if you had read it with virgin eyes.
Journey to the End of the Night was Céline’s first novel and his most famous, but not his best; that honor goes to his later works. And while I have a soft spot for Journey, I’ll readily admit that Death on the Installment Plan is the superior novel in terms of content and form. Céline had further refined his disjointed, elliptical writing style, bringing with it an increasingly cynical, bleak view of the world he inhabited.
Compared to Death, Journey is a children’s book; this is where the true darkness begins.
Hardboiled detective fiction is one of those genres that has largely been left in the dust, like Westerns. The whole film noir idea of one man against the world, dealing with violent criminals and mysterious dames, seems antiquated and old-fashioned. Will The Boots Are Red spearhead a renaissance in detective novels?
Never have I wanted to throttle the author of a book so badly.
It’s a friendly throttling, mostly; City of Singles, the debut novel by Jason Bryan (who is active on Twitter as “Dylen Durret“), is an intriguing portrait of life in our sexually liberated, post-feminist society. A semi-autobiographical book, it follows several weeks in the life of hard-partying porn mogul Dylen Durrett as he drinks and bangs his way through Vancouver’s most eligible bachelorettes. It’s a familiar premise, but Bryan has the talent and experience to pull off a truly fantastic story here.
That’s why the book’s failure is all the more maddening.
The most recent release from Lloyd Fonvielle, Christmas in the West is a collection of six short stories set in various time periods in the West. While the majority of them are authentic Westerns, “Christmas in December” is set in contemporary times and “Twilight” takes place during World War II:
We didn’t push the horses too hard on the way back to El Paso del Norte, which turned out to be a terrible mistake. A few miles outside of town we looked back and saw a band of twenty men riding hard after us. It was difficult to be sure, but it looked as though Emilio Fernandez was riding at the front of them. He wore a particular black sombrero with a lot of silver sewed on it, and I seemed to recognize it.