There are very few books I read where I just love them from start to finish. Braineater Jones is one of those books. Forget that the cover alone is amazing, (because, yes, I am shallow and judge a book by its cover), the content is amazing. This is the second book I have read by Stephen Kozeniewski. (Look below for a link to my review of The Ghoul Archipelago). Let’s start with the back cover synopsis on Braineater Jones. It reads:
Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.
But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.
As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.
Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity.
What Kozeniewski has created is a fantasy world where the dead co-exist with the living in some messed up dark city that reminds me a bit of Gotham on steroids. This is classic noir-style writing. Kozeniewski is to Mickey Spillane what Braineater Jones is to Mike the Hammer. This is dark crime drama at its best, or worst depending on perception. The tongue-in-cheek dialogue, and gritty machine-gun fire narrative is gripping and intense. I felt like I needed to read this book with a highlighter, so as not to forget the ton of imaginative and creative metaphors and similes that litter every page. There is nothing cheesy about the story line, the characters, or the action.
What you have is a man who wakes up dead. He has no memory. He makes a list. He wants to find out who he was, how he died, and who is is now, and what needs to be done to stay alive. The whore houses are like Build-A-Bear stations at the mall, only … so not like a store in a mall. If you see what I am saying. With talking heads, pickled bar owners, rotting corpses, and plenty of alcohol consumption, Braineater Jones works as a Private Dick, solving petty crimes while he digs for answers that might provide revelation to his growing list of questions.
Kozeniewski impresses me. I read this book fast. I will be thinking about it forever, and only pray there are more adventures to come. I will let you in on a secret (only it is not a secret). There is a great possibility that this book may be picked up for an animated series for adults. I’ve crossed my fingers so tightly they are white and bloodless! If anyone deserves this type of success, it is Kozeniewski! Braineater Jones is a winning novel that deserves the attention of all readers! Entertaining, artistic, and original. My suggestion? If you need a book to read –read this one! It will not disappoint.
(Read my review of The Ghoul Archipelago)