This was one of the more entertaining and unique books I've read this year... Kick by John L. Monk. The concept is different and carried out well, and the writing is excellent.
The main character, Dan Jenkins, is "living" out some type of punishment for his suicide. Since he's died, he finds himself in a "nothingness" existence, but he doesn't stay there constantly. At random periods of time, he's transported into the living body of someone who has been suppressed while Jenkins is in there. The person is normally someone who isn't a very nice individual (think murderer or other criminal element). Jenkins has no knowledge of the person, no idea where he's at, and no idea of what situation he's in the middle of. He only has a limited time before the real person comes back, which is signalled by the "kick" of the person trying to re-emerge (hence the title of the book). He tries to set the criminals up to pay for their crimes when they come back, which is normally very easy. But when he comes back in a guy who seems to be normal and who has it all, he's conflicted over just how far he should go before he's kicked out.
The idea of occupying bodies of living criminals to mete out justice gives Monk a lot of room to work with, and he uses it well. Jenkins "speaks" in a very self-depreciating manner and comes across very likeable for someone who is nearly always a "bad" person when he's alive. I enjoyed watching how each occupation played out, and the various clues that Jenkins had to use to figure out enough context to not get himself killed before he was kicked out.
Kick is well worth reading, both for entertainment and for "something different". I really hope this is the first of many books from Monk...
Disclosure: Obtained From: Author Payment: Free
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About the reviewer
Thomas Duff (duffbert)
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
"It can't be easy to write convincingly of evil deeds in a comic voice. Monk carries it off with clever turns of phrase and a self-deprecating tone. In his many bad-guy bodies, Dan shares his qualms and quirky observations. Like the very first line: 'Helen had a face that had launched a thousand customer complaints.' Priceless." (Carol Ervin, author of THE GIRL ON THE MOUNTAIN)
"This book was just well written and fun to read. It's impressive for a first time author..." (D. Andrew Campbell, author of CATHARSIS)