One of the very cool things about Red Room is that you get to have author’s promote their books and you discover little gems you may never have found otherwise. I stumbled upon James Hoch’s blog while looking for some way to avoid studyingand he discussed how his new novel, Heckel Casy, had just been published . It is a novel about dystopian future whose violent and bloody path was brought about , as I long suspected it would be, a substitute teacher. Now with any great evil, there must be a greater good, even if the greater good is a socially awkward young man with a cool name (cool enough that it was worth making the title of the book) and his name is Heckel Casey .
Heckle Casey is a fun read, with his folksy style and numerous references to pop culture as well as the author attempt to make sense of why our world is going mad. There are some problems, the reading is uneven and sometimes scenes are built up only to leave drop the reader down with a disappointing plop instead of a resounding satisfying thud. But that is its main drawback. Truthfully the writing, while it does have its up and downs, would have been really cool in a graphic novel where more vignette oriented writing tends to work better.
What I liked was that the good guys were good, the bad guys were bad and the violence was humorous and not too graphic. After a steady literary diet of teenagers killing teenagers for sport, novels bout zombie eating the one person one earth who was worth saving and then doing horrible things afterward, this book is a breath of fresh air. It is something you can give to a young adult and not worry that they will be shown any graphic violence or language not heard in your typical evening drama. At the same time you will be fulfilling the necessary obligation of any parent which is , specifically, preparing the children for some sort of battle against supernatural beings who want to create a planet earth where evil is the new normal (you know, just in case)
First time readers may be less put off by the lack of Hollywood caliber explosions and multiple deep moral questions that never get resolved. Another group that will enjoy this book is people who are tired of the very explicit violence found on the news and in modern post-apocalyptic literature. While he sometimes goes into detail about the deaths it is never too violent and usually I found myself chuckling. A third group that might like it is someone looking for a relaxing summer read that fulfills the guilty pleasure of a totally enjoyable but non-too earth shattering book.
Time to hoard the tin foil for the hats (well, if you can find any that I haven’t hoarded ) and enjoy a very relaxing summer read.