Thanks go to Net Galley and Henry Holt for the review copy. This debut tells me that Frumkin is an author to watch. This book is now available to the public.
The story begins with Leland, an addict with a suitcase, and Reggie, the dealer that hates him. There’s Melinda, the unhappy ex-wife, and a host of other characters, including Melinda’s daughter-in-law Jocelyn. The suitcase is the hook; everyone wants it, and so of course the reader must wonder what is in it and who has it now.
This novel grabbed me at the get-go, darkly funny and brutally frank. It struck me as angry fiction, and the energy behind it was fascinating. But ultimately, there are too many characters and too many social issues wrapped into this one story, and rather than making it complex and tight, it wanders in too many directions. There’s an overly lengthy narrative toward the end, and it’s followed by some regrettable dialogue. And there are too many characters named Leland. The story is an ambitious one, but this should probably have been more than one story, or perhaps a series. The result is a lack of focus.
I would love to see the author write something else using Melinda as the central character, and fewer guys named Leland.