Book review: The Rib from which I Remake the World – Ed Kurtz

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‘The Rib from which I Remake the World’ is a book that has been on my radar ever since I saw the cover art. It is a mix up of noir and horror that works very, very well, thanks in part to Kurtz’ smooth, easy writing style and some great characters and settings. Despite the obvious influence of Bradbury’s classic tale ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ and perhaps even King’s ‘The Stand’, Kurtz has produced and excellent book, one that I believe will feature in a number of top read lists come the end of the year.

The book starts off a little slowly, but I didn’t mind that because once a body is discovered by hotel security guard, Jojo Walker then the pace settles into a very nice rhythm. The story builds around a rather odd group of movie makers that come to visit the sleepy town of Litchfield to “educate” it’s residents about the pitfalls of sex! There is something not quite right about performers. Led by the mysterious and elusive Mr Barker Davis, the locals are enticed one-by-one into watching a “special” screening at midnight inside of the local theater. Jojo suspects something isn’t quite right with these people and takes it upon himself to solve the bizarre and brutal murder which eventually leads him into a dark web of voodoo and sorcery.

The main character, Jojo is excellent. He has a few demons and these are slowly revealed as the story progresses. His face is heavily scarred and the rather odd reason for this is revealed later on. He is a no-nonsense type, chain-smoking, hard-drinking guy that doesn’t really want much from life, that is until the circus comes to town and he is forced to take matters into his own hands. The atmosphere throughout the book is excellent. I almost felt like there was little daylight and that most of the stories of the town occurred at night time. The book is definitely dark. Each resident has a history of woe and as the second world war rages overseas it is difficult to imagine where is the best place to be; at war or in Litchfield.

Barker Davis is another great character. Reminiscent of Randall Flagg from King’s ‘The Stand’, he has a real menace, swagger and invincibility to him and the scenes with him in are terrific.

Whereas the first half of the book is great reading it is the second half of the book when things really shine. As the town unravels, its residents are exposed to the horrors of the secret showing and it’s up to Jojo and a couple of others to make a stand. The conclusion to this novel is excellent. So many times stories fall down as they get close to the end, but this one really worked for me. I didn’t expect what eventually happens and that’s always a plus in my book. I do think that this book has great appeal. Fan’s of noir and horror will get a real kick out of it, and if you’re a fan of the T.V. show ‘True Detective’ then there is also something here for you to enjoy. It isn’t happy reading, not by a long shot, but it is an engaging, well-written, easy read, that ticks all the right boxes for this reader. An excellent piece of work.

Pick up a copy of this fine novel from here.

 

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