There Will Be Bloodman
When I first started reading Montreal author Robert Pobi's first novel, Bloodman, I was happy to be pulled into a thriller-detective story from a different angle. The main character's personal issues with his estranged alcoholic-artist-madman father are what makes him return to his Montauk childhood home rather than the gruesome murders that are about to take place.
It is only once the main character, Jake Cole, is knee deep in his father's house and all of its horrors that he becomes special agent Jake Cole and the local cops find out that tragedy has stricken not far up the road.
I had high hopes for this well-constructed narrative where a huge hurricane is moving in while a crazy killer is going around skinning people that are all somehow connected to Jake.
Sadly, although Pobi's first crack at the writing game is vivid and a good ole whodunit with lots of gory details (and Lord knows I love me some gory details), I just couldn't get past how the writing weighs down the story like a boulder tied to a sinking ship. It also apparently inspired me to write bad similes.
The story is so filled with mixed metaphors and euphemism that are unrelated to the story that it makes me want to fill this review with images as heavy as the wall of sadness and tears that were cried for Jesus as he suffered on the cross. And that is an example of why you don't write similes that have nothing to do with your story, because they make no damn sense! Although it is kind of fun.
That said, I wouldn't want anyone taking Jesus abstractions and ridiculous similes seriously. When Pobi uses turns of phrase like "it had bypassed Freud and went straight into Oedipus territory," I can't help but cringe. We are dealing with a murder case where the whole fun is to work out what the missing pieces are. Instead, we are given so many heavy-handed, useless images to work with that the story gets lost in its overwrought weight of words.
This novel is best when Pobi seems to forget that he is trying to give us back story and doesn't have time to load us up with exposition that falls flat. There is little that I hate more than being told exactly what I should be thinking when reading a book and, sadly, Pobi tries to read this one for us chapter after chapter.
This book could have really benefitted from someone yelling the classic writer's mantra "show don't tell!" at the top of their lungs. I found myself at times wanting to argue with the confused third person narrator that slips into the story way more than he should with his trying-hard-to-be cool tone.
Somehow the narrator always won with his CSI -esque one liners minus David Caruso, the sunglasses and loud YYYEEEAAAAHHH! And without those, why would we be watching CSI anyway?
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada
There will be a celebration for Bloodman's release on Tuesday April 3rd at 6:30 pm at
Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore
2220 McGill College Circle