“Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews What We Reckon by Eryk Pruitt, 320 pages published by Polis Books October 10, 2017.
Media format read
Retail paperback provided by Polis Books.
“At that age, most folks’ belief in who they were or would become was malleable. Even if they had a firm grasp on their identities, who they were while high could still shift like putty in Summer’s hands.”
Meet Jack Jordan. He’s a smooth-talking con artist with a penchant for the fast life. He’s snuck into Lufkin, Texas, in the dead of night with little more than a beat-up Honda, a hollowed-out King James Bible full of cocaine, and enough emotional baggage to sink a steam ship. He’s charming, dedicated, and extremely paranoid.
Summer Ashton, his partner-in-crime. She’s stuck by him through thick and thin, but lately her mind has begun to slip. They’ve told their fair share of lies and she’s having a devil of a time remembering what’s the truth. And recently, she’s been hearing voices. Unfortunately for both of them, she’s the brains of the operation.
Furthermore, they have begun to tire of one another.
For these two career grifters, the sleepy East Texas countryside is but another pit stop on their rampage across the American South.
Will it be their last?
“I’m going to ask Lindsay to be my steady lady. I’m going to start a life with her. Not a transient life full of fake identifications and idiot marks, but a real life. One where we go to a church we don’t believe and make friends with folks we don’t like and laugh at jokes that aren’t funny. Like normal people do.”
What, or who, do you read when you choose to step out on your preferred genre of book for an illicit, rowdy escapade of fiction? For me, when it isn’t horror, it’s Eryk Pruitt. Always Eryk Pruitt. He is dedicated to telling the lives of southern fiction dirtbags in the most entertaining way possible. What We Reckon is the next view into these wretched lives and it flows with the same sharpened Pruitt bite that I have come to fiend for.
Following two distinctive periods of a young woman’s journey, life proves that your demons follow you eternally, so do your soul mates. But what happens when they are one in the same? Names change but the soul always shows through.
I had a wonderful time reading What We Reckon. Truly a joy. Beyond the fascinating main characters, every one of the supporting cast brings something to the table. Differing individuals with unique voices. Which I think is one of Eryk’s most desirable attributes, the ability to craft unforgettable characters and the polish to be able to make them stand out from one another. He has the wherewithal to give these believable people equally believable discourse. Anyone who has followed me for any period of time knows that dialog is key to selling me on a book. The folks inhabiting a story need to have rational, down to earth things to say. It’s can elevate any narrative, it can also bury a book. Pruitt’s dialog is fluid and interesting, snappy without venturing into overly ultra-hip lingo.
The situations Jack and Summer find themselves in don’t feel like plot points, but a natural path extending from their poor decision-making. It feels less like you are reading a book and more like you are following a vignette of a person’s life. It makes for compelling reading. From the first page I was caught in this narrative. I felt for these people and their lives, and they are unsavory people, which is a victory. The literary world is full of unlikable characters. Some you love, other’s that cause you to put a book down and walk away, but when characters are such pieces of shit that you can’t help but be excited to follow along and watch the spectacle, that’s what I call a good time.
When the second act of What We Reckon kicks off I found myself amped up, all shades of excited praying for a certain event to transpire. I even let out an audible “Oh dear lord let this be a …….” Was it? I’m not going to give away the secret.
Since Dirtbags, Mr. Pruitt has had a standing reservation on my TBR pile. This will continue until they pry his books from my cold dead, unsavory, paws.
“It will end much like this”
If you are familiar with, and a fan of Pruitt brand fiction then this is going to please you just fine. If you are not familiar, take care of that as soon as possible!
If you are not a fan…. well, then I guess we can’t be friends.
Entertainment Value (Because the kids like numbers)
5/ 5, easy.
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
**Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and/ or publisher and I am reviewing it voluntarily. These are my honest, unbiased feelings. I did not receive any sort of compensation.
About the author
Eryk Pruitt is a screenwriter, author and filmmaker living in Durham, NC with his wife Lana and cat Busey. His short films FOODIE and LIYANA, ON COMMAND have won several awards at film festivals across the US. His short fiction appears in The Avalon Literary Review, Pulp Modern, Thuglit, and Great Jones Street, to name a few. In 2015, he was a finalist for the Derringer Award for his short story “Knockout.”. His third novel What We Reckon can be found on bookshelves across the country. He is the host of the Noir at the Bar series in Durham. A full list of credits can be found at erykpruitt.com.
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