The point of these quick takes posts is to catch up on my “To Write About” stack—emphasizing pithiness, not thoroughness. These three were all short reads, making it very difficult to write much more than this, anyway.
by Todd Gilbert, Brandon McKinney, Zachary Brunner, Daniel Bruckner
I saw an advertisement for this on Instagram last weekend—something about a Time Travel Rom-Com in six free issues. I decided it was worth a shot.
This is the story of an assistant manager at a “big box” store, angry and resentful over being denied a promotion (a series of them, I think). He sets out to exact his revenge by (the reader can see) future versions of himself.
So far, I’ve read the first issue—it’s a clever story, I like the art. I really don’t like the protagonist, but have hope he can be redeemed (or another major character emerges to get behind). But for the moment he’s an impetuous, selfish fool, and I’m sort of rooting against him.
I’m not going to check back in on this until I finish the series, but I’m looking forward to the rest of it.
So, it seems that a Mexican drug cartel is trying to bring a new, extra addictive variety of Meth into London. We see both a user recruited by the cartel’s representative and a less-than-ethical tax specialist who finds himself laundering money for them. Novak comes into both of their lives in his efforts to stop this incursion.
So, here’s the cool thing—minor spoiler—Novak takes on a criminal enterprise and doesn’t hurt/shoot/kill anyone. That’s a nice thing to see.
But, this just wasn’t a good story. It feels like an outline, there’s no real drama or suspense. There’s a lot of talking, a lot of exposition.
I don’t like not saying good things about Novak or Lancaster, but aside from the novelty of Novak not leaving a trail of death and destruction, there’s not a lot of positive things to say. I like the idea of this, I just didn’t dig the execution.
There’s not much of a plot here, either—but there is one. This is primarily a way to look at two characters—the outsider desperately trying to make a home in Cloud County, Rev. Craig Chess, and Mandalay Harris. Someone (no one we’ve met before) is dying and he asked for Chess to come. Outside, Chess meets Mandalay for the first time and the two have a couple of interesting conversations. There’s a bit more to it than that, but that’s enough for this.
I really liked watching these two interact, sizing each other up. Mandalay is at her creepifying best and Chess is his earnest, loving self. As much as he and I would debate essentials of the Faith, Chess has always been one of those fictional characters that’s easy to respect as well as like. I always appreciate the way that Bledsoe writes him.
Short (very short), but absolutely worth the time. It’s the one thing that I’ve taken off the TBR list since I started those Down the TBR Hole posts because I’ve read it. Will hopefully not be the last.