First, I must state my bias, I am a hardcore Kindle reader; 95% of what I read is on this convenient librarian hating device. So if a book is not available yet on the Kindle and I still purchase it than I really am a huge fan of the author.
So this is not my first and definitely not my last Carlton Mellick III book I will read. I am not sure how many I have read, but it is probably near 10, which is almost 1/4 of his catalogue of 43 books.
Therefore with Mellick, it is a unique compliment when I say this book is in my top 3 favorite books of his.
“Hungry Bug” was very entertaining, original, and artful which is what I come to expect from Mellick, but a major plus of this book was the structure.
While Mellick has used structure creatively in telling different back stories of characters (“Zombies & Shit”, “Apeshit”, & “Clusterfuck”) this read and reminded me a lot of Sin City with magic– think “Sin City” meets “Harry Potter”.
I really don’t know much about “Harry Potter”, but if I had to pitch this story, it would be Harry Potter characters grow up, gets addicted to magic, and ends up in a ghetto of people ostracized from the regular world for their addiction (how people end up in what is called Hell’s Bottom–where people go when they do magic one to many times is a pretty cool concept.)
The theme of addiction is prevalent, so for someone whose not a Potterhead and honestly doesn’t like magic (Penn & Teller aside, I find magicians pretty annoying) it worked for me. It was a great allegory for addiction.
I do not want to give any spoilers, but the novel of stories, which I haven’t seen done as well since “The Imperfectionists” are really strong and where Mellick really makes it shine is how much they build on each other–interweaving into a great climax and a cathartic resolution of the characters.
I can’t say this is my favorite Mellick book that is still a tie between “Haunted Vagina” and “Zombies & Shit”, but it his best use of structure and story telling. This is one of his best works and I really did love his recent novel “Clusterfuck”, just cause it was so EXTREME BRO!
Like “The Imperfectionists” each story can really stand on its own cause of the story mixing well with well-drawn out characters, that are all tight as hell. I’ll say some literary heresy and say these are probably more entertaining than most Alice Munro’s short stories, but I won’t hold my breath on Mellick getting love from the literary community.
Usually his books are for Bizarros, horror lovers, and/or fantasy lovers (where “Zombies & Shit” and “The Haunted Vagina” are more their cup of tea) but I’d recommend this to all types readers, which feels good, because Mellick is one of the authors I’d like to see all readers check out.