Fans of fluffy romance novels and that all-too-familiar, over-hyped, edge-of-the-seat crap should steer clear. This is life at its most jaded. Offense Mechanisms is proud to present Bleach | Blackout by David S. Grant, two novels about drugs, sex, revenge, the corporate crunch, and the inevitable unpleasantness of life and death. Bleach and Blackout are presented here in one double format (tête-bêche) volume.
Life At Its Most Jaded.
BLEACH opens during the last sixty seconds of 2003 in a bathroom where Jeremy, our jaded navigator through the endless repulsiveness of the world, watches a girl lay dying. Before diving into an explanation of what the hell is going on, Jeremy doubles back eight days. The entire story builds up to the climax of Sharon Winkler's infamous annual New Year's Eve party, where all the men are dressed as prostitutes, all the women look like pimps, decadence and debauchery dictate the rules, and the next guy through the door is sure to have a gun. Written in a cynical voice that rings true with today's young business class, Bleach is a story that encompasses the sentiments of a generation while examining the meaning of life in a world driven by greed.
This is a story about living.
BLACKOUT begins in Las Vegas, where Stoner and friends celebrate his bachelor party in a blur of strippers, crack cocaine, a little Thai, and Nic Cage. The next morning in Los Angeles brings an unwelcome surprise when Stoner's friends Chip and Jeremy wake to find police officers and a dead body for which they are allegedly responsible. Chip is charged with murder and his trial is being fast-tracked... What would Steven Tyler do? Beneath the stories of hangovers and death, this is a story about living for the moment and having a story to tell. Blackout is a fast-paced ride that will leave you wanting more--and maybe a cold beer.
When we are first introduced to Jeremy, it is just minutes away from the New Year and he is looking at a girl who may be dying on a bathroom floor. This set-up is told as a countdown to 2004 and the narrator tells you “This story probably isn’t for you.” Hah, like I can walk away from a hook like that! Needless to say I got comfortable and prepared myself to prove this narrator wrong – and did I ever.
As the ball gets ready to drop and bring 2003 to a crashing end, Jeremy reflects on how he ended up in this situation. His reminisces take us back to his place of employment, the day before he leaves his job as a corporate whore, to return to his hometown for the holidays. But his plans don’t just include eggnog and Magnum PI re-runs with the family, and alcohol and drug-fuelled catching up with friends – He’s also going to be having his brain tumour operated on. Jeremy and friends must also must prepare for friend Sharon’s legendary New Year’s Eve party. This is how we end up full-circle back into the bathroom with the dying girl, but along the way we also hear of many of Sharon’s past parties. Through all this we experience first-hand Jeremy’s revelation that even though he is living his life, it’s more like he is counting down the minutes – but towards what? Another major issue he faces is how quickly he gets back into the swing of things in his family home and his social group – but no matter the ease, the comfort is absent.
This book was most definitely for me, I loved the cleverness in the writing, I like repetitive themes in stories and the way in which characters were introduced really caught me:
“All you need to know about Chip is that we’ve been friends since seventh grade, when we both got pinched by the principal for selling pot. To a teacher. The tragedy wasn’t that we got caught, but that the teacher, Mr. Ross, was fired on the spot. Mr. Ross was our best customer.”
“All you need to know about Mark is that he likes to tan, married an ex-stripper, bought a house, and is trying to have a child, because that’s what you do.”
Those are just two of many examples throughout the book, but they illustrate perfectly how a quick description of a minor character also reflects more on the personality of Jeremy and how he views the people surrounding him.
Bleach and it’s sequel Blackout are going on my favourite reads of the year. Pop culture references are peppered through the descriptions and add to the themes found in the story, for example, a girl who is extremely attractive loses a few points for owning a certain CD, Hah love it! The writing, as I’ve mentioned above is clever but the characters are twice as intriguing. They come across as empty paper cut-outs but their is a depth to the reasoning behind what this shallowness is hiding – whether it be fear, lack of self-confidence or a feeling of hopelessness. These are interesting characters that are depressing but also fully realistic. These aren’t happy stories and there isn’t too much uplifting metaphor behind the story, but satisfying? Oh yes, that it was. This is a keeper and will find a nice home on my shelf between Brett Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney – I think it will find this a cozy spot.
About The Author
David S. Grant was born in West Allis, WI. David's first novel, Corporate Porn, was published in 2005 by Silverthought Press. Major writing influences include Bret Easton Ellis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chuck Palahniuk, and Hunter S. Thompson. David has also published several short fiction pieces with various literary journals and websites including The Writing Journal, The Reader's Retreat, The Falling Star Magazine, The Sink, and Lifted Magazine. Grant has three corporate degrees and now lives and works in New York City. He is currently working on a prequel to Bleach titled Bliss.
© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.