Save Yourself

Mysterious Book Report No. 123

by John Dwaine McKenna

There’s a saying my old Irish Grandmother repeated that goes like so: God made the countryside and man built the cities . . . but the devil made the small town.

I’ve thought about that old saw over the years, and what I think she meant was this: in a small town everyone knows everyone else’s business, so therefore, no one can EVER escape from their past.  And nowhere is it more true than in a small southwestern Pennsylvania town where this week’s MBR No. 123, Save Yourself, (Crown Publishing/Random House, $25.00, 310 pages ISBN 978-0-385-34734-1) by Kelly Braffet, takes place.  It’s where a twenty something named Patrick Cusimano is living with his brother Mike in their family homestead, along with Mike’s girlfriend.  Their mother is dead.  Their father lives in prison, sent down on a fifteen-year stretch for DUI and vehicular homicide . . . a hit and run that killed a little boy.  Both brothers are trying to live with the shame, each in his own way, because, well, because it’s complicated.  See, Patrick, who reported the crime, waited nineteen hours before doing so, while his brother Mike and their father tried to talk him out of it.  Mike is dealing with the ignomy by self-medicating with alcohol and pretending it doesn’t exist.  Patrick, the more sensitive of the two, is working a low-wage graveyard shift at a local gas and convenience stop in an attempt to avoid almost all human contact.  But his life gets more complicated when he finds himself attracted to his brother’s girlfriend.  He fights it, but it’s complicated.  More so because the attraction is, well, sort of mutual, at least sometimes.  Then there’s a seventeen year old Goth girl who’s after Patrick in a very carnal way; her demonic cohort and his acolytes; the vengeful parents of the murdered little boy; plus a crusading religious zealot . . . and suddenly we find that author Braffet has gathered all the elements of a wide-open, full tilt, screamin’ hot, rock n’ roll boogie that’ll leave the reader sweaty and gasping for breath.  Oh yeah, boys and girls . . . you don’t want to miss this ode to a small town’s psychological demolition.  It’s awesome!

I don’t think there’s a library anywhere that’s not awe inspiring.  From the largest to the smallest, they all exist to serve women and mankind.   Now that’s awesome!  Go.  Participate.  See for yourself what all the fuss is about . . .

Speaking of fuss, check out our websites:

 johndwainemckenna.com

and

rhyolitepress.com

The websites are enhanced and improved and easier to navigate.  Check it out for yourself and sign up for our FREE NEWSLETTER.  It’s an all-new feature.  While there, if you like us on Facebook and join our ever growing community of book lovers and adherents of the other Literae Humaniores, you’ll automatically get our weekly blogs and book reviews at 8 am Eastern time on Monday mornings, just as you get into work.  That way, you can relax with your coffee and still look busy as you re-adjust from the weekend back to the workweek.  Colorado Noir is off and running.  A limited number of author signed copies are available from Rhyolite Press LLC, P.O. Box 2406, Colorado Springs, CO  80901, for $16.95 plus $4.00 shipping and handling.  The book is 318 pages, and eleven stories that will take you for a walk on the wild, dark and seamy side of one of the most controversial cities in America via the award-winning pen of John Dwaine McKenna, author of The Neversink Chronicles and The Whim-Wham Man.  In Colorado Noir you’ll ride along with a homeless, autistic woman named Elaine, as she tries to pick her living from the garbage in The Aluminum Mistress . . . Hang out with Yazzie and Darrell Lee as they learn to live rough, surviving by petty theft until one of them commits a capital crime in The Ghosts of Christmas Present . . . There’s merry mischief and pathos aplenty in Mosby’s Retreat, where you’ll meet a four-footed usher of death . . . Experience utter terror at 30,000 feet on a B-17 flying abattoir in The Rising, an unforgettable WWII story . . . And treat yourself to the second Jake McKern novella in A Mischief of Rats, as you countdown to a crime spree and shootout that will leave the reader gasping and blood running in the streets of Colorado Springs.  All these, plus six more of the best noir stories in town.  If you love crime fiction and mystery, don’t you DARE miss Colorado Noir!  Available at Amazon, Kindle eBooks, Barnes & Noble and bookstores everywhere, as well as the publisher, Rhyolite Press.

–JDM

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