A taste of Cajun revenge served up hot in New Jersey
“You’re an animal. A hate machine. Killing’s all you’re good at. Aim you at something and you tear it apart, don’t find nothing but shreds in your teeth…”
“Reckon so.” The corner of Jay’s mouth curled…
Sentenced to life as a teenager for killing the school bully, twenty-five years in, Jay Demarteaux is released to civilian life. He returns to the scene of his crime and the crimes which led to it, Nutley, New Jersey. His mission, first to find his family and then to attend to some righteous revenge. Righteous, you may ask. Pluck answers that question with a novel full of disturbing flashbacks of child molestation, sexualized teen bullying and assault, and rape/sodomy, silences and cover-ups. This material is handled in a thoughtful, non-exploitive manner. The consequences of the abuse are graphically illustrated with broken damaged lives. Some people, as Demarteaux believes, just deserve to be killed.
Thomas Pluck is an action writer, fight scenes, break ins and car chases are rendered with believable cinematic precision. He also keeps a sense of humor about things, it is not all darkness. Whether describing a mobster – “Dante Mastino had hound-dog eyes, a forehead that recalled Easter Island moai, and hands fit for scooping gravel pits. His hand-tailored suit hung off him like cave bear pelts.” Or thoughts on a high school reunion, “They say it gets better,” Brendan said, eyeing the room. “That’s a load of shit. It gets bitter, if anything. You get used to it. Most people turn into bigger versions of the little assholes they were in school.” In another instance, his characters consciously recall the Blues Brothers while they rip up a country club with their vehicles. It is not a linear story but as told we see Demarteaux as an exploited child, as a fall guy induced like many juveniles to confess with false promises, a fresh fish in prison guided and educated by an older con, after release, used by the mob and his former girlfriend, and hunted by corrupt police and a powerful politician. Armed with his father’s Vietnam era Hatchet and a Case Rebone Trapper, Jay Demarteaux sets out to make things right.
Plucks writing has an edge of artful realism, when he makes you laugh and when he makes the reader cringe. If you are a fan of AC/DC, you are doubly lucky. Bad Boy Boogie is further proof that Thomas Pluck is the real deal.
This book was received from Down and Out Books via NetGalley for review.
John Stickney ©2017
John Stickney is a writer formerly from Cleveland, Ohio now residing in North Carolina. His fiction has appeared in Thuglit, Demolition, Needle, among others.