4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Zozobra Rising is a crime thriller by Bruce T. Montgomery. David Quinn is the Superintendent at the Albuquerque Waste Water Treatment facility in New Mexico. One of his employees, "Goot" Guitierrez, alerts him to a severed hand he has found in the water filtration area of the plant. The hand is huge and black, definitely a man's...but it has acrylic fingernails painted cotton candy pink.
Flashing back to the night before, we see Frankie, a huge cross-dressing black man, gambling at a casino to attempt to turn his savings of $20,000 into the $80,000 he needs for gender reassignment surgery. Alas, Native American Bennie Yazzie, owner of the casino, learns of Frankie's card-counting exploits. Less than pleased, Bennie chops off Frankie's hand and has his bodyguards dump Frankie in the river. Frankie survives and swims ashore downstream. There, he is found by the employees of the Waste Water Treatment facility that already has his missing hand...
Montgomery's writing is of high quality throughout the book. There is the clever: "The hiring pool for Waste Water was ankle-deep"; the sardonic: "She had the deep, gravelly voice of career smoker and future lung cancer candidate"; and plenty of dry humour: "As he pulled off his pants, he performed an awkward, jerky hip-hop dance, like a contestant of 'So You Think You Can Dance' having a petit mal seizure." The author describes physical settings such as homes and landscapes in neat yet vivid detail. His addition of some of the food, history, and culture of New Mexico provides a sense of richness and gritty realism for the story.
There are no conventional chapters in this book, with each section instead headed with the name of the viewpoint person (or people). This is a highly effective method which makes an intricate plot easy to follow. The dialogue is sharp and witty, the paragraphs constructed logically, and the editing professional, with a high level of attention to detail and only a few errors. The love interest between two of the main characters starts subtly and builds into a strong mutual affection at the right time, with a lull in some adrenaline-charged events providing the catalyst for them to take their relationship to the next level. The author handles the sexual tension and flirting between these two characters deftly.
The only negative for me about this book is the small number of errors I found in the text. There are not enough, however, to detract from a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. Zozobra Rising is a brilliant, bizarre, and fascinating story and character study. The violence, quirky story and excellent plotting reminded me of the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, such as Fargo. The story has a cinematic quality that would translate well into a movie. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys crime novels, as long as you are not put off by violence. It is one of the most entertaining crime thrillers I have ever read.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like joshfee77's review? Post a comment saying so!