I was recently asked to write a book review for an unknown book. A website I contribute to (therealedition.com), just recently launched, will have book reviews as part of its content.
I have an account on Goodreads, but I typically do not write reviews about the books I read. I feel like there are already so many reviews out there which lay out the plot and characters that mine is just adding to the noise. Therefore, this is a little bit of a departure for me, although I trust it will give a good sense of the book.
And now, without further ado, a book review of Earl Javorsky’s debut novel, Down Solo.
Down Solo, Earl Javorsky’s debut novel, is a rollercoaster ride where the ride begins at the top of the first giant hill, with no slow ascent to prepare us.
Charlie Miner is a private investigator/junkie who is in the middle of a case involving a briefcase, gold, kidnapping, arson, lots of gunplay, dynamite, a gorgeous woman, tweakers, marital unfaithfulness, a “Christian” with a scheme, and fraud.
Oh, and he is dead. The story opens with him waking up in the morgue, somehow able to reanimate his dead body. Not only that, but his spirit can leave his body to roam around in places where his corporeal being can’t go. This comes in handy in multiple settings.
It’s zero to sixty from the get-go and the action is non-stop. Charlie’s reanimated body still desires his beloved heroin, but isn’t able to feel any effects from the hit he gets soon after tracking down his former dealer. Being dead among the living presents him with several challenges and often renders him unresponsive as he disappears into the memories of events that happened prior to his death.
By the time Charlie had found some clothing for his dead body and left the morgue, the frequent similes made it clear that the simile is one of his favorite literary devices.
“… like a bee in a bottle.”
“light as a whisper, fast as a thought”
“like wearing a gorilla suit”
“like a bag of snakes”
“a tall domino of an apartment building”
“like a mescaline-induced cubist totem pole.”
I was a little surprised at the number of people who were killed in the book, and moreso by the fact that he killed them, but one of the conditions of being reanimated was to be sure not to kill anyone innocent, which did stay his hand at least one time.
At the point where I read “I hurl myself upstream and stroke across and am conveniently swept by the current onto the rock shelf,” I realized that there were quite a few happenings in the story that were a little too convenient. But, sometimes you just have to let art flow over you without getting too hung up about the story asking its reader to suspend disbelief.
By the time Charlie got to tracking down the crazy that had kidnapped his daughter in Mexico, Javorsky’s love of lists and detail was starting to get slightly cumbersome. Just about the time I was starting to think the detail was going to overwhelm me, I realized that there was an entire deeper meaning to his story. He had a second chance; an opportunity to come back from death, and attend to his unfinished business. As a matter of fact, he was able to heal himself from being dead, and actually came back to life. I think Javorsky is explaining his philosophy on drug addiction here. Only the addict can heal himself and bring himself back to life. “…healing is my birthright, that the healed state is my natural inheritance, that atonement is the only prerequisite to claiming it.”
Down Solo is an enjoyable book, hard to put down, easy to escape into. The font and margins are pleasing to the eye, and the book is well-edited. All in all, Javorsky’s novel is a solid entry into the world of suspense with a side of supernatural.