Thursday, September 8, 2011

Memoirs of an Antihero by Drew Blank

Drew Blank hooks you from the first page of this sarcastic book about a vigilante who will tell you, he is no hero. Drew, the writer and main character, sums it all up quickly: “Screw justice. I just needed the money.” With a line like that, you would expect a self-obsessed, undoubtedly narcissistic personality. Drew is a long way from self-obsessed. In fact, he gets into all of this for the love of his daughter, Michaela Luann Sullivan aka Moxie, who, we find out at the beginning of the book, has just been diagnosed with leukemia. Leukemia is not an automatic death sentence, but it requires treatment, costly treatment. The cost is far higher than Drew’s nearly minimum wage job at Tully’s Seafood will pay for. The corrupt town he lives in offers him an unusual out, however. Crime is rampant in the city of Cross. A good bit of it is drug deals and other such activity, lucrative activity. Drew decides to cash in by robbing the corrupt rich in order to pay for his daughter’s treatment.

Though he might not call himself a hero, there is the usual mixed response to his seemingly heroic actions. While some are truly happy he is taking drug dealers off the street, there are others (including corrupt cops) who see him as a problem. One they are more than willing to use lethal force against. At the top of the pyramid of drugs in Cross is the mysterious Benji Carver, who is certainly willing to go to some extraordinary lengths to get rid of Drew, or rather his vigilante persona Freak. After a series of interesting and escalating incidents, Freak goes up against Benji Carver, or Blueboy, with the life of his darling Moxie and her mother, Reggie, at stake. In the end, Freak survives and it looks like he just might get away with it all.

No hero truly works alone. In Drew’s case, his team is made up of: his best friend, Christine “Twisty” Bailey, a perky fellow server at Tully’s who is also an artist and science fiction junkie; Phil Kendall, a gay computer genius and his roommate; Jeff Gustafson, a non-gay machinist; and finally the former military man turned tattoo artist, Tom. Thankfully, Tom is not only a good tattoo artist; he is also a decent medic because Drew’s first few excursions leave him with some rather drastic injuries.

While not on Drew’s vigilante team, other important people include: Carmela “Mema” Severi, who fills the role of mother figure for Drew; Regina “Reggie” Sullivan, Moxie’s mother and Drew’s former girlfriend; and Dominick Prazzo, former server at Tully’s, close friend of Drew’s, and current member of the Cross police force who is assigned to the Freak’s case.

While there are points in the plot that are somewhat predictable, Drew’s voice as he writes makes it impossible to concentrate on the plausibility or implausibility of what goes on. He makes it sound good. His sense of humor makes it impossible to not want to see what happens. Check out Drew’s website: to pick up a copy of the book and show support for this unconventional author and his fantastic material.

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