Jordan Krall, King Scratch (Black Rainbows Press, 2010)
Jordan Krall’s obsession with squid continues apace, and he keeps honing it as he goes along. This is, of course, a good thing, as it guarantees that each book is going to get better as we go along. I can’t claim to have read all of Krall’s output (he’s quite the prolific guy), but it is definitely the case that each of his books that I have picked up, if we go in chronological order, has been better than the last. Which is a pretty tall order when going from Fistful of Feet, which was a pretty singular achievement, to King Scratch. Yes, the latter is better, but on the other hand, comparing the two doesn’t necessarily make sense; whereas Fistful is a bizarro take on a tentacled spaghetti western, King Scratch almost has a noir feel to it. So I can get out of having to directly compare them by assigning them to different genres (despite both being far more bizarro than anything else).
Plot: There are moonshine smugglers in New Jersey. Specifically, in the world this novel inhabits, there’s Jim and his sometime lover Peggy, who are contacted by Jim’s ex-wife Laura, who’s worried about her father and who wants Jim to go over and check on him. And then there’s Black-Boned Keith, a nasty sort who’s got his eye on Jim. So much for the main human characters, because then there’s Abraham Lincoln, a psychotic tentacled beast who…
why am I even trying? Summarizing the plot of a Jordan Krall novel is like attempting to explain the uses of the pluperfect tense in Latin to your chinchilla. You can do it, but it’s ridiculous to even try, and if anything, you will end up spoiling the surprise (and pleasure) for the recipient of your efforts. What I should just be telling you is “buy this book, squid-face, and read it as soon as you can.” So buy this book, squid-face, and read it as soon as you can. ****