Published by: Meerkat Press
Publication date: January 23rd 2018
Genres: Adult, Magical Realism
Marvin Deitz has some serious problems. His mob-connected landlord is strong-arming him out of his storefront. His therapist has concerns about his stability. He’s compelled to volunteer at the local Children’s Hospital even though it breaks his heart every week.
Oh, and he’s also the guilt-ridden reincarnation of Geoffroy Thérage, the French executioner who lit Joan of Arc’s pyre in 1431. He’s just seen a woman on a Los Angeles talk show claiming to be Joan, and absolution seems closer than it’s ever been . . . but how will he find her?
When Marvin heads to Los Angeles to locate the woman who may or may not be Joan, he’s picked up hitchhiking by Mike Vale, a self-destructive alcoholic painter traveling to his ex-wife’s funeral. As they move through a California landscape populated with “smokes” (ghostly apparitions that’ve inexplicably begun appearing throughout the southwestern US), each seeks absolution in his own way.
You read that blurb, and look at that cover, and still you’ll have no idea that journey you’re about to embark on. Smoke City will make you book drunk. Having finished it, after not being able to put it down, I am still basking in the book drunk feeling. The message that Smoke City delivers is profound, and loud & clear by the end of the novel. Marvin and Mike face many personal demons throughout their adventure together, at the beginning there is no way to know how their paths will cross and the meaning it will have on each of them. This book is well laid out, it gives you the raw emotions of the characters as they face their trails and tribulations of life.
When I first picked up this book I was most curious about the category “Magical Realism” as I hadn’t read a book in that genre before, I was surprised to discover it is one I should frequent more often. If you like Urban or Paranormal Fantasy you will love this book. It picks your brain like Inception, and leaves you with the refreshing notion that you only get one life, might as well make it a great one.
Keith Rosson is the author of the novels The Mercy of the Tide (2017, Meerkat Press) and Smoke City (2018, Meerkat Press). His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, Redivider, December, and more. An advocate of both public libraries and non-ironic adulation of the cassette tape, he can be found at keithrosson.com.
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