SIRK TV Book Review: BLOOD STANDARD [G.P. Putnam’s Sons]

The essence of a good crime novel always comes down to a little bit of levity. Despite dark textures, it can take on a type of social commentary or sarcasm if correctly done. This is what made “Goodfellas” so palpable. “Blood Standard” [Laird Barron/G.P. Putnam’s Sons/336pgs] takes the essence of a pulp novel and integrates it with the aspect of a revenge thriller/fish-out-of-water story. Here is the focus is on Isaiah Coleridge, a hitter in the mob but seemingly with a small soft streak. He begins in Alaska but is seemingly exiled to upstate New York, a completely different but slightly similar den. The texture of the characters is relatively small time but fairly lurid in its details. The internal structures of the characters move but also because there is a method to his madness. Isaiah sees the good in others when they don’t, at times, see it in themselves. Most of all the characters are broken but not in ways they can’t be fixed. There is a dexterity of nihilism within the story but also sarcasm. Isaiah’s penchant as a bruiser is undeniable and he doesn’t push it down but details like his love of mythology to his approach of bringing a date to a made place to the aspect of taking down part of a gang because of their abuse of an animal shows a dynamic missing from some stories that take themselves too seriously. The only soft approach to this aspect is the motivation initially to dip his toe back into the life: the missing niece of his upstate NY hosts and benefactors. It seems like a wanton means for penance though he doesn’t seem like the type to adhere to such sentimentality. However the essence of loyalty does permeate both in his would-be girlfriend but definitely to his brother-in-arms Lionel who seems a lost case at times but inherently dependable in a jam. Their quips back and forth before attacking, on a stake out or even hanging out with their photographer friend Calvin in a strip club has the feelings of old school movies or “Oceans 11”…guys in heightened situations who would like to relax but have other scores that need to be settled. “Blood Standard” knows its world but peppers it with textures that are both humorous, brutal and inventive making for an efficient and bombastic read.

B+

By Tim Wassberg

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Posted on June 12, 2018, in Other Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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