Instant Karma by Todd Morr: Nasty, brutish, and short (I mean that as a compliment)

Instant KarmaInstant Karma

by Todd Morr


Kindle Edition, 120 pg.
Fahrenheit 13, 2019

Read: May 24, 2019

           Teller was the next to clue in, he sprung from his chair drawing his service revolver while Doyle started crawling for the back exit. The shooter was tall, wearing wraparound shades, a black baseball cap turned so it was shading the back of his neck, and a long leather trench coat. He had a gun in each fist, big semi-automatics with extended magazines. Teller was thinking this guy was an idiot, the kind of dumbass who thinks John Woo movies are documentaries, until he took two in the chest.

The gunman alternated firing each gun. Teller fell to floor and bounced the back of his head off the hard tile, putting him to sleep. Jones had just cleared his pistol when a bullet caught him in the shoulder, spinning him around. The next two bullets hit him in the back and sent him sprawling face first to the floor.

Nah, I didn’t give anything way (really). That’s at the 3% mark. The real action comes later. But that’s a good taste.

I hate being trite. I hate being cliche. I don’t want to say the same thing that everyone else in the world is saying. I don’t want to be the 3487th person to say that Instant Karma is Tarantino-esque. But you read this book and not say something like that, I dare you (like Ralphie’s classmate, Schwartz, I’ll skip to the coup de grâce — I triple-dog-dare you to).

Let’s start with a underworld organization that may or may not exist — Instant Karma, Inc. (think of a West Coast Murder, Inc., with a smaller staff) and the intimidation (and worse) they inspire by maybe existing. Then you’ve got yourself an aging, but still vital, yakuzza Mr. Yasuda (called Mr. Burns by everyone not in his presence due to his age/resemblance to a certain Nuclear Plant owner) who disapproves of the man his daughter is sleeping with (and who expresses that disapproval in extreme fashion). That man is a disgraced ex-cop named Hondo, a security consultant for people like Mr. Yasuda/Burns. His daughter is an ex-kindergarten teacher who decided she was devoting her prime years to a bunch of annoying kids and decided to toss that career to the side to have fun and make bad choices (see: Hondo). Throw in a couple of cops who are hewing a little too close to the line; some people in Yasuda’s organization who want to make a name for themselves; a recovered addict and her pastor; and a lot (I mean a lot) of bullets and blood. Throw all that into a blender and this book comes out.

I want to keep this post as snappy as the book, so I’m not going to get bogged down in plot details — just know that there’s a few people just trying to stay alive and get a little bit of happiness in their lives, and there’s a whole lot of other people who are willing to stop them (and anyone else who’s in the way).

There’s a lot of humor in this book, as well as the action — some nice character moments and a lot of heart (frequently coming from directions you don’t expect). It’s also one of the most violent books I’ve read this year (actually, probably the most violent book this year to date). It’s about vengeance, hope, justice, love and a hope for a little bit of peace — but little of that is as flashy as all the violence.

I’m glad this weighs in at a slim 120 pages — I’m not sure I could’ve take much more. This is like a good double-shot of espresso — why waste time sipping a cup or two to get your caffeine fix? Knock back the 60 ml and move on with your day. This quick read feels all the quicker because of the pacing of the narrative, the action of the scenes and the smoothness of the prose — the adrenaline rush doesn’t hurt either. I’m not sure I can say enough good about it, actually. I had a blast, and bet that you will, too.

Okay, I’ll stop now and get out of the way so that the the 3488th Tarantino comparison can get underway.

—–

4 Stars

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge 2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

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