Friday, October 25, 2013

Dead End

Dead End
by Guy N. Smith
1996 Zebra Books

Guy N. Smith does Kafka.  Or Jacob's Ladder, or Dark City, or whatever.  There is a portal to hell in a closed city development, and dead souls live out a continuation of their miserable mortal lives.  The rich are corrupt, the poor shiftless, and the vagrant Downers are the lowest of the low, smoking crack and feeding on human flesh.

A driving instructor and his deaf (when Smith remembers it) student sneak into the Ghetto to rescue their departed loved ones.  There is an election in the Ghetto/Waste/Hell between equally corrupt factions, leading to a massacre of Downers and prisoners in the only horrific scenes of the book.  Smith goes for Kafkaesque frustration and befuddlement more than thrills.

Smith sometimes pretends that maybe something else is going on, like a government conspiracy, but no, it's just hell.  He has a bad habit of entertaining an atmosphere of mystery only to reveal that everything is pretty much what he said it was in the first place. 

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