Thursday, October 9, 2014

A New Review of Jungle Horses

Sometimes you get a review so lovely, you have to post it. Here's one I just received from the great crime writer Les Edgerton:

I'd like to recommend a fantastic book I just read, Scott Adlerberg's JUNGLE HORSES. Here's my review of it: 

Every great once in awhile, as a writer, I come upon a book that serves as a wake-up call as to why I originally wanted to be a writer and reignites that original fever. The first books I read that excited me about literature were novels that created entirely new worlds out of whole cloth. The Jules Verne novels, the Edgar Rice Burroughs tales, the stories set in places like nowhere on earth. And then, as time went on and I became more and more inured into writing professionally, I kind of forgot that original excitement. Well, it was just reignited. I picked up a copy of Scott Adlerberg’s newest novel, JUNGLE HORSES, and instantly felt like I was 7 or 8 again, racing through 10,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA or TARZAN OF THE APES. I was immediately transported into a world that had never existed before and it was just plain exhilarating! This was a writer who was obviously the kid the English teacher back in the eighth grade singled out when she announced to the class that this kid had a wonderful imagination. Too often, as we get older and more jaded, we keep using the same old settings and same old plots and when you happen on a story like JUNGLE HORSES, it feels like it does when a Santa Ana comes down out of the mountains in L.A. and blows all the smog out to sea and the air gets crisp and clean and your lungs feel like new.

I’ll leave it to others to describe the plot, except to say that it involves a degenerate gambler, a weird sexual triad with one of the players impotent, and an island that I think broke off from the island of Dr. Moreau and drifted a few leagues away. And horses. It almost doesn’t matter what the plot is—it’s a dream and you enter into it immediately and willingly. Because of its atmospheric quality, it will be tempting to call it a work of noir, but it has a higher and reaches it—this is literature and literature of the highest quality.

I’ll leave the plot details to the cover copy, which describes it as:

Arthur lives a quiet life in London, wandering from the bar to the racetrack and back again. When his pension check dries up, Arthur decides to win it all back with one last big bet at the bookie. When that falls through, Arthur borrows money and repeats the process, until he's in too deep with a vicious gang of leg-breakers.

The plan to save his skin will take him far from his home, to a place where a very different breed of horse will change his life forever.

I have no idea why, but the entire time I was transported into Adlerberg’s tale, I kept thinking I was reading a story by William Goyen. I think it was the voice he employed.

I’m just thankful for coming upon a story that reminded me of why I wanted to be a writer. I feel like my own roots have been rejuvenated. It’s a wonderful thing to be reminded of the possibilities of story.

Pick up a copy--you'll be glad you did!

Blue skies,

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