Sunday, July 19, 2009
The second book by Jason Starr I've read (fifth if you count the Max & Angela books he co-wrote with Ken Bruen - and you REALLY, REALLY should), Starr seemed to really be finding his own voice with this novel.
The first time I read a solo book by Starr, TWISTED CITY, I was struck by its resemblance to Bret Easton Ellis' work, specifically, AMERICAN PSYCHO, and founded it an equally worthy, if more entertaining version of that. So it's only appropriate that HARD FEELINGS sports a handsome quote from Ellis on the cover. And Starr deserves it, too.
HARD FEELINGS slowly draws you in, making you like and relate to its lead character just enough so that when he starts to unravel, you feel you just might along with him.
The book, though, is not without its flaws. There is a slight feeling of drag in the middle section of the book as the character's guilt and paranoia overtake him, which, while effective, interrupted the flow of the story a bit.
I can only imagine if I had read HARD FEELINGS before any of Starr's other work, the impact it would have had, because, as it stands, the similarities with it and TWISTED CITY are too large to overlook, yet, TWISTED CITY defied its more conventional tendencies, while HARD FEELINGS allows them to a degree. Although no fault of Starr's, it is the undeniable comparison to his later, more sophisticated and refined work that ultimately hurt the book for me.
That isn't to say it's bad, far from it, I tore through its pages greedily, and was left with what felt like a film of grease and shame upon finishing it.