Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Carousel Court - Joe McGinniss, Jr. --------------------- 4.5 Stars

So, how time flies. 8 years ago, I read and reviewed Joe McGinniss Jr's first novel The Delivery Man. I knew him briefly from playing some basketball while living in D.C.  Anyway, the book was pretty awesome and well worth reading if you have not picked it up. However, I would recommend you read his newest book first.

Carousel Court came out earlier this year and is a fantastic read. Similar in many ways to his first novel, it's gritty, drug induced fun for the whole family. And this one really is about a whole family. Newly married couple moves to California with a young child and quickly goes under water on their new home. As they struggle to figure out what to do, their marriage begins to unravel and both find their own outlets to maintain whatever sanity they have left.

As I rate books on entertainment value, this one is a knock out. Gripping and hard to put down, I flew threw it in about a week. It was a kind of a mix of Gone Girl and Girl on a Train but seemingly more realistic. The author does a fantastic job describing the history of the two main characters in engaging ways while still keeping the pace of the novel moving forward. Also, he has a great knack for quickly moving from a description about a scene, that includes intimate details to help visualize, to out of control drug use and violence.

The book also hits closer to home than the last. Not that my marriage is falling apart and am behind on mortgage payments, but I can relate to the loss of one's 20s and the "grind" of work and kids on a daily basis. Again, the author does a good job of framing, albeit probably an outlier of a situation, what many in some parts of country are struggling with too often.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was an engaging and entertaining read, and it's wonderful to see the author continue to hone his already impressive skill set further.  Like this last book, it would get an "R" rating, but the story is a good one and characters quite interesting. I only wished he would write books more often than every 8 years (though, if there always this good, I can wait!).

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