Katrina Monroe and the Dark Side of Fiction
Katrina Monroe is an author, mother, and professional haterologist. Her favorite things to hate include socks that fall down, grape-flavored anything, and the color 'salmon.' Grab her books here.
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From The Cover:
They call her Blister. She’s a hideously disfigured twenty-three year old woman, living in a shed next to her father’s house, hidden away from the world.
Jason Tray is a successful cartoonist, banished to his agent’s lakeside cabin for a few days of mandatory rest and relaxation. One night, while hanging out with a couple of the locals at a dive bar, he takes them up on their offer to go “see Blister,” having no idea what they’re talking about.
He peeks through the window at the most nightmarish thing he’s ever seen.
In the morning, he wakes up, hung over and regretful. He’s better than this. He needs to…apologize?
BLISTER has, in the beginning, an overall feel of a friend getting really excited (and maybe a little drunk) over a story he wants to tell you and they dive right in and you’re right there with them, kind of, but throughout the telling you get the feeling there’s something he’s leaving out and—
But then, maybe ten percent in, the pace slows just enough to be inviting. THIS is where the real story begins and, once I found it, I couldn’t put the thing down. Jason Tray is a cartoonist with a relatively mild, but no less problematic anger management issue which, really, is all you need to know about him.
Throughout reading, I wasn’t exactly sure I was reading. Was this horror? Comedy? Romance? Some twisted combination of all of the above? It didn’t matter, because the uniqueness of it had me intrigued.
Though Jason was a difficult character to pin down at first, his artist’s state of mind, including tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation had me in stitches. “…I figured that leaving a couple of Off Balance collections at her doorstep wasn’t quite the same as, say, leaving a bag of burning dog crap. Some critics would disagree.”
Especially during the first third of the book, I found the dialogue to be on the trite side—“Hello, how are you? I’m fine. My name is Jason.”—But thankfully, it didn’t continue beyond that point in the book.
Based on dialogue alone, I couldn’t imagine Jason Tray without Jason Bateman’s face. The wit and sarcasm could only come from his mouth. Over-protective dad, Malcolm, would be cast as Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer from Supernatural), because everything he says could easily be followed by a dead-pan, “Balls.” Rachel, with her quips and hips, is Jennifer Lawrence.
Given the above, I was blown away by the interaction between Rachel (Blister) and Jason. Their back and forth was witty, interesting, and perfect for their characters. While insanity loomed around every corner, everything that happened between them seemed perfect.
I’m no closer to figuring out what exactly BLISTER is that when I began. Part tragi-comedy, part who-dun-it, part free-for-all, but strangely it works and it’s what, I think, makes Strand’s style special. I left the book feeling satisfied with what I’d read and, though I haven’t read anything of Strand’s before, I’m inclined to go through his list and pick up another very soon.