This is the first book by author Matt Ruff that I am reading, and it begins very promisingly - the blurb caught my interest:
"Jane Charlotte has been arrested for murder.
She tells police that she is a member of a secret organization devoted to fighting evil; her division is called “The Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons”— “Bad Monkeys” for short.
This confession earns Jane a trip to the jail’s psychiatric wing, where a doctor attempts to determine whether she is lying, crazy—or playing a different game altogether."
I was laughing out loud within the first chapter, always a good sign that the book is going to be fun!
The partly first person writing style adds to the sense that you are seeing into this young woman's thoughts, and the writing is witty and attention grabbing. There was a Salinger feel to these portions of the book.
The author moves between this style and the interview with the psychiatric doctor very smoothly, and through out the book, there is a hallucinogic sense to what the 'patient' is saying. The book has several moments where it deals with crimes and criminology, with insights into the mind of evil, and had me jumping at shadows when I read it late at night :)
The book makes one ponder if our heroine Jane is deluded, and so lost that she has no recourse but to make up an ideal role in life for herself in order to run away from her reality. It keeps you teteering on that edge between thinking that she is crazy and believing that there might be something to the story she tells.
While the book did a great job of being completely engrossing right up till the end, the ending itself was disappointing. It certainly didnt live up to the promise of the book (hence the B Rating) and could have been more complex and longer. It all felt a bit rushed towards the end, as if the author had run close to his word limit and had to wrap it all up within a few pages.
However, I would still give the author another chance, and shall read another of his books next week.