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From The CriticsDark, foreboding, claustrophobic and dreamy are words that accurately describe this noir. The setup is simple, if a bit over the top (as is much of the book, a possible problem if you don't give yourself over to it): Phineas Poe, an ex-cop fresh out of a mental hospitalwhere he retreated after the suicide (or was it murder?) of his cancer-ridden wifemeets a woman at a hotel bar, they seem to connect and she goes up to his room with him. He awakens a day or so later in a bathtub full of melting ice, a note wadded in his hand that reads, "If you want to live, call 911." She has, it seems, taken his kidney.
>From there everything gets only weirder. He walks out of the hospital a little too soon, catches up with the woman, ostensibly to retrieve his kidney and also to kill her, but he is also drawn to her. She may or may not be working for the CIA; Poe may or may not have killed his wife; a bag of heroin may or may not be stuffed inside him in the cavity where his kidney once resided; the kidney may or may not be in a small freezer the two of them haul around.
Lots of maybes, lots of hallucinatory writing and an oddly compelling story. If there is a downside to the book, it is that the first-person narrative is sometimes too literary, too clever for its own good, but the dreamy uncertainty of everything nudges you along until its not-very-happy conclusion. All in all, very impressive, a standout in what is becoming a crowded field.
Randy Michael Signor