TITLE: Smoke City
AUTHOR: Keith Rosson
PUBLISHER: Meerkat Press
Quote: “'I turn fifty-seven next Monday,' I said. 'One week. Which means I'll be dead in six days or less. Or so history dictates.'”
Overview: A once successful, now alcoholic has-been painter: MIke Vale. A record store owner who is the reincarnation of Joan of Arc's executioner: Marvin Deitz. What do they have in common? Not much other than the fact they both live in Portland, Oregon and are drawn at the same time to travel to Los Angeles. Marvin is in search of a girl who claims to be Joan of Arc. Vale is headed to his ex-wife's funeral.
Marvin is picked up hitchhiking by Vale and the two drive south in search of solace and forgiveness for their lives and past lives.
Oh, and the smokes, as they are called. They are ghosts that keep appearing everywhere - highways, lawns, bathrooms, kitchens. They're all throughout the southwest and their appearance is both unsettling and inexplicable, though maybe it's all part of something...more.
Analysis: Smoke City drew me in instantly. Keith Rosson's writing is fun and engaging with the perfect amount of irony and sarcasm. From first person to third person, present day to flashbacks, multiple viewpoints, this book really has it all. The reader learns to love all of the characters for all of their flaws, of which they have many.
The way in which the different stories come together to form a cohesive and beautifully absurd plot keeps the reader turning page after page. This was by no means a mystery but I found myself in a state of delightful suspense during many parts of the book. Underlying all of the drama and backstory lies a tale of friendship and empathy.
I will refrain from comparing Keith Rosson to other great authors as I never find that helpful in a review, so do yourself a favor and just pick this book up and set aside some time to enjoy it. If you're looking for a wild ride, lively characters and a story that conveys. among other things, that regardless of age, people can change and grow, then look no further than Smoke City.
Conclusion: This book is great for so many reasons, you should just read it!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. This does not affect my review, my opinion of the book or any such related content.