Joe Clifford’s Junkie Love portrays high-heeled heroin amour, beautiful and vicious, full of front seat hot sex and brutal cop raids, secret rehab gropes and smack-fueled crime sprees. In prose that speeds like a stolen car, Clifford does for opiated romance what Michael Herr did for war and F.X. Toole for prize fights: brings mind-blowing news from hells beyond imagining.
—Alan Kaufman, author of Jew Boy and The Outlaw Bible of American Literature
No one writes this good the first time out, do they? Joe Clifford’s Junkie Love is a literary achievement of the first order. Junkie Love is both harrowing and haunting, hypnotic and hilarious. Clifford can flat-out tell a story. He’s savvy, insightful, and fearless. Trust me, here’s a world that’s more vivid, unnerving, and compelling than the one you’re living in, written with the exhilaration and abandon of an improbable survivor.
—John Dufresne, author of Requiem, Mass (a People magazine’s Book Pick of the Week)
Joe Clifford reminds us that even in the most punishing circumstances, the human heart doesn’t just struggle or abide, it points the way home. Junkie Love is a savage, funny, ravishing gift of a book, strangely gentle and beautifully strange. Like Jimmy Santiago Baca’s A Place to Stand, it reveals that man in extremis is the man in the mirror, and that our own humanity resides precisely in the willingness to see the irreparable fault lines in our own souls, to witness despite the impenetrable darkness: to love. All men should be as strong and caring—and yes, flawed—as Joe Clifford; all books should be this wicked and mesmerizing and just plain good.
—David Corbett, Author of Blood of Paradise and Do They Know I’m Running?
At turns tender, at turns scalding, Joe Clifford’s Junkie Love is a raw, articulate, poignant, comic and steely-eyed look into the ravages and ravishments of being a heroin addict in San Francisco at the end of the millennium. It’s an edgy coming-of-age tale of survival and redemption refracted through the haze of rock ’n’ roll and the noir of addiction, always true to the impulse, however warped, humans have to seek out love and companionship in spite of the depravity of their situation. An entire vivid underworld—populated with dealers and the DEA, dope fiends and their lovers—crystallizes and crackles in the blue flame of Clifford’s prose. Look out Bill Burroughs, move over Irvine Welsh, make way Jim Carroll, you’ve got company!
—Ravi Shankar, Executive Director of Drunken Boat and author/editor of five collections of poetry, including W.W. Norton’s Language for a New Century
Joe Clifford casts a cold, clear eye on the brutal landscape of addiction and those who populate it. This is a tough, authoritative work, crackling with tension, oozing dread.
—Les Standiford, author of Last Train to Paradise