Black Teeth by Zane Lovitt – Review.

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About the Book

Jason Ginaff doesn’t get out much. Partly because of the anxiety, mainly because he works at home. Researching people on the internet. Job candidates doing bucket bongs on Instagram accounts they thought they’d deleted; the prospective new head of sales stripping for a hens’ night…

He’s been searching for something on his own time, too.

Now he’s found it: the phone number of the man he believes to be his father.

Which is how he gets mixed up with Rudy Alamein. They’ve been looking for the same man.

Difference being, Rudy wants to kill him.

My Review

Black Teeth is a dark humorous novel set in Melbourne. Jason is a hacker who probes the depths of the internet looking for ‘dirt’ on prospective job candidates. He also uses it for his own needs, looking at friends and also for tracking down the father he never knew after the death of his mother. This places him in danger, when his father, an ex police officer talks him into meeting Rudy to ‘sell’ life insurance. Rudy is the son of a man who was convicted of murder, and he believes that Jason’s father tricked him into a confession. Rudy wants Beth, a friend, to benefit from the life insurance that Jason is ‘selling’.
All of these characters are a little odd. Beth isn’t as squeaky clean as Rudy thinks she is, she is very manipulative. Jason’s father was a bitter drunk who left his job as a police officer under a cloud. He knows that Rudy plans to kill him and seems eager about it, even though he has set booby traps in his home. Rudy is a loner, he lives in squalor  and it is easy to believe that he is capable of violence. Whilst he believes that Beth is his friend, it is Jason who is there for him more, despite his actions at the beginning. Jason is the most likeable of the characters. His job isn’t a pleasant one and he gets carried away at times but he does have a conscience and regrets some of the things he has done. He is loyal, even to those who don’t deserve it. There aren’t that many characters and they all felt substantial. Many people are probably unlucky enough to know somebody like the ones in this novel.
There is some violence but its comical. Most of it backfires and doesn’t go the way it should do. Some of it I had to reread to get the most out of it ( some of the Australian slang I didn’t understand but I could get the general idea). The description of Rudy’s home and its squalid conditions were convincing, at times I wanted to dive in the shower, thinking I could smell it.
It’s very entertaining, not a hysterically funny book but one that had me smiling wryly. I recognised some of the areas in Melbourne, including the area Rudy lived in which was great but you could still enjoy the book if you didn’t know it.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

Kill the Next One by Federico Axat.

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About the Book

Ted McKay had it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger.

Then the doorbell rings.

A stranger makes him a proposition: why not kill two deserving men before dying? The first target is a criminal, and the second is a man with terminal cancer who, like Ted, wants to die. After executing these kills, Ted will become someone else’s next target, like a kind of suicidal daisy chain.

Ted understands the stranger’s logic: it’s easier for a victim’s family to deal with a murder than with a suicide. However, after killing his targets, Ted’s reality begins to unravel. KILL THE NEXT ONE is an immersive psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.

My Review

I thought that this would be an unusual thriller but I was utterly unprepared for how bizarre it would be. I thought that it would be just as the blurb suggested, that of a ‘suicide by chain letter’ but the more I read further layers were exposed. This was one book where you couldn’t assume to know what would happen next. It was only during part four that I started to relax slightly and think that I had grasped it but yet again I was proved wrong.
I think it worked, despite all the layers and very strange twists it made sense. There were a few pages towards the end that I wasn’t keen on but I am aware that there are some people who do the things described. It didn’t make easy reading though.
Probably a book that not everybody would enjoy but I liked it and the translation was excellent.
With thanks to Sophie Goodfellow for the copy received.