As the Ewings navigate the mystery of what's become of their son, the circumstances surrounding Newell's vanishing and other events on that same night reverberate through the lives of seemingly disconnected strangers: a comic book illustrator in town for a weekend of debauchery; a painfully shy and possibly disturbed young artist; a stripper who imagines moments from her life as if they were movie scenes; a bubbly teenage Wiccan anarchist; a dangerous and scheming gutter punk; a band of misfit runaways. These "urban nomads", each with a past to hide and a pain to nurture, weave their way through a neon underworld of sex, drugs, and the spinning wheels of chance.
©2008 Charles Bock; (P)2008 Books on Tape
As usual authors these days spending years creating and developing characters and only what seems like a few minutes writing the ending. The characters and Las Vegas details are rich and engrossing as was the narration. But I would have very much enjoyed following Newell as he disappears into the desert. Unfortunately the book abuptly ends leaving everyone hanging. Perhaps a sequel in seven more years.
More impressionistic than old master, Bock paints a vivid, disturbing, compassionate, compelling tableau. This is not an 'easy' book to love -- exuberant writing feels a bit undisciplined at times, many characters are from the seamier side -- yet that author does a great job pulling everything together just as the work seems to be at risk of fraying apart. Provocative to be sure. If you are looking for a fresh new voice, this is certainly worth a listen.
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