Oh I loved the first hundred pages of this book. Hundred-thirty, maybe. Paranoid and muffled, like a thriller in slow motion, like a ghost story set in the cement landscape of Roosevelt Island, it called to mind the frightened, frightening work of Philip K. Dick . Like Mulder's quieter, more desperate X-Files moments. The characters - and the reader - don't know what's going on, why everything around them keeps breaking and why everyone they encounter seems so hostile. The atmosphere is chilling and hopeless - magnetically written, it seeps into the reader's head like silence and inertia and entropy. Really good.
But, also like Philip K. Dick AND the X-Files, the plot loses traction somewhat once a Big Bad has been identified. It's got to be a hard thing to do, to build a terrible situation and then follow through with a responsible entity that is not in some way a letdown. Whether it's a faceless corporation or a rubber shark, there's going to come that moment when the reader sighs, "Oh, so that's it," and then it's all waiting to see whether evil will prevail. Philip K. Dick had particular difficulty with this. The things he was scared of were often not what scared the rest of us. Crazy will do that to you.
This is Jesse Karp's first novel, and there is more than enough here to make me look forward to his next.
Read via NetGalley.