(Tw: Mention of rape)
There was a time, maybe as recently as 3 years ago or so, that I really would have enjoyed Jason Starr’s work. Jim Thompson-esque crime fiction set in New York City featuring the worst human beings alive? Gimme some of that.
I don’t know if getting older makes me soft or my tastes are more specific or what but Starr’s books, while well-written and thrilling, just don’t it for me. The male characters are ludicrously dumb and evil. The female characters are all narratively scolded for daring to have ambition beyond their station in life. It’s not that I need “likable” characters; Gillian Flynn’s characters are inherently unlikeable, which is part of what makes her books so compelling. What I need is a reason to care. And I don’t have one besides figuring out what happens next.
Make no mistake, this would have been a 4-star read for me back in the day. Starr knows how to thrill. Nothing happens the way you think it will, right up to the last page. I was practically shredding it trying to figure out what comes next. But in the end, I just feel like I want to take a shower and hug my family. Starr wants to use farcical circumstances to probe the depths of human capability but he doesn’t really have an interesting take on it besides people suck. It doesn’t help that there’s a graphically described rape scene in the book for no reason, plus one that is strongly implied, that made me feel like reading the thing wasn’t even worth it.
Sad thing is, I’ll probably come back to his work at some point. But…ah. Eh. Let me make sure I can schedule time to clean my brain after.