I always bring a dead tree book with me on flights, because I need something to do in the time during which passengers are forbidden from using electronic devices (I can't bear to sit quietly with my thoughts for 15 minutes on a plane; I need a distraction). If the book is excellent, I'll continue to read it after the all-clear signal is given, instead of turning on my phone or tablet and fiddling with it for the next several hours.
This week I flew from Los Angeles to Dallas/Ft. Worth, and I brought along Matthew F Jones' novel A Single Shot, originally published in 1996, and reissued in paperback by Mulholland Books in 2011. The publisher sent it to me in 2011, and it had been sitting on my review pile since then. I grabbed it off the stack and stashed it into my bag before heading to LAX. As soon as the flight attendant instructed us to turn off our cell phones, I pulled out the book and started reading.
An hour later I realized that we were in the air. I was unaware that the plane had taken off. I read for the entire flight, gripped by the story of a hunter in upstate New York who accidentally shoots and kills a teenage girl while hunting a deer out of season, and his efforts to conceal it. Like Scott Smith's novel A Simple Plan, A Single Shot reveals the tragic consequences of trying to to cover up a mistake. And like A Simple Plan, A Single Shot includes a bag filled with large-denomination currency, which the poacher takes from the camp site of the girl he killed. Naturally, others are interested in the money.
In the introduction to the novel, Daniel Woodrell, author of (Winter's Bone), calls A Single Shot "one of the finest novels of rural crime and moral horror in the past few decades." I can't argue with that, mainly because I haven't read many novels about rural crime. Woodrell also declared Jones to be a "twisted motherfucker." I don't agree with that assessment, though. The protagonist in A Single Shot is a twisted motherfucker, and the people who come after him are scarily twisted motherfuckers, but Jones strikes me a deeply moral person with tremendous insight and an impressive talent for telling an addictively engrossing story.
A Single Shot
If you were one of the lucky Del Toro fans who got to see the At Home With Monsters show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this year I hope you found the photo-mural of his house on the way out and took a selfie there — it looks like YOU are right […]
For the past couple of years, I’ve been making the case, at HILOBROW and in the UNBORED books I’ve co-authored, that the Sixties (1964–1973, according to my non-calendrical schema) were a golden age for YA and YYA adventures. In no particular order, here’s my list of the Best YA and YYA Lit of 1967. Happy […]
Fletcher Hanks comics are incredibly violent, incredibly stupid, and incredibly beautiful. His first published work appeared in 1939, only months after the first Superman story ran, and his last work appeared in 1941. Then he disappeared.
All 53 of his batshit crazy tales have been reprinted in “Turn Loose Our Death Rays And Kill Them All!: The Complete Works Of Fletcher Hanks.” They are likely to pop your eyes, blow your mind, and leave you speechless. Shortly before his death, Kurt Vonnegut wrote that, “The recovery of these treasures is in itself a major work of art.”
You know as well as I that writing complex, long-long form text requires significant organization. You’re probably also well aware that Word just isn’t up to the task. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Scrivener, the software suite used by best-selling authors and technical writers alike.Scrivener is much more than another digital typewriter. With a […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]