Wednesday, October 15, 2014

REVIEW: Tussinland by Mike Monson

Greetings everyone,

A number of books of come my way in the past few months that I have really enjoyed. However, since that time I have released the first issue of my magazine Dark Corners, begun compiling the second issue, and started writing a few novellas. As such, this blog has been neglected more than I'd like. I'm going to try to change that now.

Today we are looking at the first novel from one of the best pulp writers working today: Mike Monson. As I'm sure you are aware, Monson is an editor of the amazing magazine All Due Respect. ADR recently expanded to form ADR Books. I reviewed their first release which was a double feature of novellas by Pablo D'Stair and Chris Rhatigan called you don't exist. Now ADR Books is releasing a novel by the great Mike Monson, Tussinland.

I was fortunate to be able to have a look at an early draft of Tussinland. As I've said, Monson is one of my favorites and so any opportunity I have to read something new from him, you better believe I'm gonna take it.

Tussinland is Monson's best work yet. I seem to say that with every new release but it keeps being true. The novel tells the tale of Paul Dunn, a TV-obsessed loser who is addicted to Robitussin. He is the chief suspect in the murders of his soon-to-be ex-wife and her lover. Of course, given that he's such a loser, you can probably imagine that something is up. And brother, something is indeed.

That's the skeleton of Tussinland. Of course, this is Monson so you'd better strap yourself in for one hell of a ride. The world of Tussinland is a world of drug addiction, social media addiction, sex addiction, and incredible violence. Also, Frosted Flakes.

Monson packs so much into this book that not a single sentence is wasted. If you have liked anything from him before, you are going to love this. He has only gotten better in time. Particularly, his depiction of social media in this novel and the obsession with Facebook, the internet and smart phones is better here than anywhere I've seen these topics handled in fiction. The result is very original.

Like all the best pulp fiction, Monson's books are not realistic. Instead, they have a sort of hyper-realism. All the best pulp guys do it. Greg Barth is another notable example. Monson takes all the things you know exist in the world but don't want to think about, cranks them up to eleven, and shoves them in your face.

Tussinland is dark and hilarious. Its over-the-top. It grabs you by the nuts and refuses to let go until the end. Even now, some months after having read it, it has stuck with me. It'll be one of my favorite reads this year.

Go and buy. Read and enjoy. Then, the next time you sign into Facebook or comment on an article, think about Paul Dunn and his fucked up little story.

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