Monday 15 May 2017
JONATHAN WOODS - KISS THE DEVIL GOODNIGHT (2016)
A road trip crime novel—as if Ellis and Palahniuk wrote a southern noir filmed by Lynch or Burton starring Johnny Depp—Kiss the Devil Good Night hits the pavement from Florida's badlands to a drug lord estancia in the wilds of the Yucatán jungle as Bill Derringer—Yale dropout, Iraq war vet and furloughed waste management truck driver—searches for sex, love, revenge, the meaning of life and William Burroughs' lost suitcase.
Bill Derringer, his wife Edie and their kids head down to Florida to visit Edie's Aunt Ida. Turns out that Aunt Ida is both a sociopath and an old flame of Edie's. As Edie is drawn back into Aunt Ida’s bed, she and Bill join Aunt Ida’s scheme to rip off the local guns & ammo show. After the robbery, Bill realizes that Aunt Ida and Edie are scheming to do him in. He escapes with his life but is caught by the cops and goes to prison. Aunt Ida and Edie disappear into Mexico with the money. Bill and Edie’s two kids become wards of the state. Five and a half years later Bill is paroled. In his new life he is torn between a desire to reunite with his kids and his quest to track down Aunt Ida and Edie and meter out revenge.
My first time reading Jonathan Woods and after this one - "Pulpy, pervy fun" indeed - not my last and not just because I have two of his earlier books sat on my Kindle - A Death in Mexico and Bad Juju. Kiss the Devil Goodnight was my kind of book.
Dual settings - Florida and a subsequent road trip to Mexico. A fractured family, Bill Derringer 's wife ditching him and their kids after falling again for the femininely wiles of Aunt Ida, but not before the three have robbed a guns and ammo show. Bill, gets crossed by Ida and ends up serving time for the robbery - five and a half years in which he schemes and plots revenge.
Pitching up at a halfway house, Bill enjoys a bit of geriatric bed-hopping with Marge - a prison pen pal, near death cancer sufferer; before moving onto enjoy the charms of fellow house-guest Jane. A few lively nights follow, culminating in Bill discovering his now grown daughter dancing at a strip bar.
Unsuccessful in achieving any kind of family reconciliation with his kids - it's off to Mexico we go with Jane, for the dual purpose of a 10k reward for collecting William Burrough's unopened suitcase, which may just house an unpublished masterpiece and handing Aunt Ida her ass on a plate - always assuming he can track her down. (Wife Edie's ass is something we are still ambivalent about at this stage!)
I wouldn't class this as a wholly humorous novel, but there were plenty of moments throughout that I was chuckling to myself and shaking my head at events. Jonathan Woods has a twisted sense of fun and can tell an entertaining story - wild, weird and warped.
4 from 5
Jonathan Woods has his website here. Facebook here.
Unfortunately - 280 Steps the book's publisher has closed its doors and this one is no longer available for Kindle, though I think printed copies can still be found.
Read in April, 2017
Published - 2016
Page count - 324
Source - Edelweiss - Above the Treeline review site, courtesy of defunct publisher 280 Steps
Format - Kindle