Dead End | Book Review

41NaJWBXcmLI have a smarty-pants academic type friend named Chad Denton who sent me his book The War on Sex: Western Repression from the Torah to Victoria which I’ll be reading and reviewing at some point… BUT! As an added bonus, he also included a short work of fiction called Dead End that was published by Wapshott Press.

First, I’d like to say something about the format of this story. I’ve recently fallen back in love with short fiction/novellas. Obviously a lot of it has to do with the lack of time I have to devote to recreational reading and my rapidly dwindling, attention span (thanks internet!) but there’s also something really satisfying about reading short stories. They require high impact storytelling – the writer chooses words carefully, focusing on the quality of words rather than quantity. Plot lines move quickly but when well-written, still give you the same thrills and chills as books with prolonged developments.

Regarding Dead End, here’s the official Amazon description:

Make your own culture war! Stuck in the city of Dead End, where ambitions go to wither, Rodney Bauman has resigned himself to a life of covering school board budgets and antique store openings. However, led by his own aspirations and the occasional religious vision, Rodney has found the key to realizing his dreams: covering a culture war that he secretly launches himself. At first Rodney finds both notoriety and a Stoic boyfriend, but when his cause accidentally attracts a genuine cultural terrorist named Joy, Rodney succeeds far more than he ever expected.

I’m personally interested in modern media and journalism, and fascinated by the ease that these can now be manipulated, so this story was right up my alley. The plot was both amusing, and disturbingly feasible.

The real joy of this story, however, is the main character. Rodney is the personification of intellectual malaise: an over-educated, under-appreciated young man who lives at the mercy of a system that can’t find a way to make good use of him. He’s smart enough to know that he’s surrounded by fools, but not smart enough to figure a way out…until his powerful ego leads him to pull the strings of the media to catapult himself into the spotlight, but the consequences end up being deadly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this lighthearted, satirical story.  The whole thing is less than 100 pages, and could be finished in 1-2 sittings. Definitely a good choice for a weekend read. Pick it up on Amazon.

Thanks Chad!