“For an author to choose as his explicit models Camus’s L’Etranger, Genet’s Notre Dame des Fleurs, and Sade’s Les 120 Journees de Sodom (all of which he has obviously read in French) and to earn the right to be mentioned in their company is quite a goal to strive for: one that only time will verify but that perhaps Jack Remick has indeed achieved.”Narrated by the sociopath Hank Mitchell, imprisoned for stealing women’s underwear from laundromats, this intensely poetic novel recounts his compulsive endeavor to record on paper his sordid life as a mercenary in Latin America, a hitman in France, a professional killer working for huge American corporations that hold themselves above the law. The world he describes, across which he strides as an agent of death, may be a record of the truth of the times in which we live; it may be self-created fiction that deliberately plays with the reader’s mind.
“We are introduced to Hank’s dysfunctional and seemingly real family from whom he learned the art of deception and manipulation, and who want to return him to the outside to use for their own machinations. We meet his two lovers in prison, first Rene and then, after he is murdered, Squeaky. We watch the deterioration of one of the guards.
“All the while, the iridescence of the language used to describe images of blood and corruption sweeps the reader through 120 chapters to arrive ultimately as curiously detached as Meursault describing the death of his mother in Camus’s novel much as ‘The Rio Verde, a slender jungle river brown as chocolate, lazy as a tree sloth, meanders through Southern Mexico seeking a path to the Coast where it spills its dirty cargo into the deep and cleansing blue Pacific.’
“A crime novel, an account of guerrilla warfare, a family tragedy it is even more a remarkable novel about the act of writing and the art of reading, one that assumes a readership that is at ease with literature but a tad too complacent about the horrors unseen by bourgeois eyes.” —Wayne Gunn, Lambda Literary.org
“The prose style crackles. The insights bite deep. The story surges forward with a rush of blood. Locked in prison like the soldier-narrator of Jean Genet s French classic, Our Lady of the Flowers, the narrator of Jack Remick’s Blood unwraps his tale by writing a secret book about his mercenary past killing for money, then verifying his kills with a heavy necklace of human ears. A powerful tale written with total intensity. You won t be able to put it down. “Robert J. Ray, co-author of The Weekend Novelist and author of the Matt Murdock mysteries, including Murdock Cracks Ice.“
Jack Remick is an original. Blood is delightful to read. It has heart and honesty fun, too. Full of surprise and the heat and throb of human life. The reader can picture the whole thing.” Natalie Goldberg, Author of Writing Down the Bones and Old Friend From Far Away.
Blood does not read so much as it pours forth, lava-hot, like a force of nature. Mitch the killer, collector of ears, Mitch the lover, writing in prison on toilet paper, opens an artery in the American psyche. Jack Remick may be the Jean Genet of the 21st Century.”
Priscilla Long, author of The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life and Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry.
“Wow! What a ride …. In Mitch, [Jack Remick] successfully created a character that I loathed and empathized with at the same time. It’s a delicate balance… The blossoming relationship with Squeaky is the heart of the story. Sad, poignant, hopeful and a coiling snake pit of emotion. I loved the descriptions, the image of the cell mates waking; like snakes or animals in cages. I felt and heard it …. There was a lot in Blood that would hold the attention of straitlaced (as some who don t know me well, think) ladies like me. This book is not for my husband, or my mother, but my bro Clark will read and get it. So will several of my girl friends and fellow writers. The audience is wide-ranging. I cannot wait to read Jack s next novel ….”
Mindy Halleck, travel writer and novelist
“Even though I know there have been very bright serial killers, when I think of killer, I think of a totally non-thinking, non-feeling, just doing it by rote, inhuman robot-like creatures. But with Mitch, Jack Remick gave him a tool to go beyond this, to be more human. He created a tool for the reader to change their perception of him, to humanize him and feel some semblance of empathy. And that tool was writing. Brilliant! …. Mitch appears to be a very well-read, educated person. And he uses all this knowledge at will in his writing and his thinking. Along with his clear thinking, Jack also gave him the wild, bizarre, colorful, imaginative, dangerous and paranoid graphic hallucinations of a schizophrenic or bipolar person. And yet, he is a killer …. We experience his thoughts, feelings, and whirling in his hallucinations firsthand. The reader gets lost in Mitch’s mind, experiencing everything he is thinking and feeling …. Powerful.” —Susan Canavarro, author of “Fragments: Growing up Bohemian poor in Dementia’s House.
About the Author
Jack Remick co-authored The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery, with Robert J. Ray. He has two collections of short fiction, Terminal Weird (Black Heron Press), and Throwback and Other Stories (Quartet Seattle). His novels are all published by Coffeetown Press
. Websites: Writing Techniques
Thank you, Jack, for including my review of Blood on this page. What a pleasant surprise to see my words.