Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jason Starr's The Follower

I've been a long-time fan of Jason Starr's work and consider Fake I.D. and Nothing Personal masterpieces. They are simply one of the best books of the 1990's. They are clearly hardboiled and noir, but there are no knowing hints to older genre work. There's also none of macho posturing that at times seems prevalent to the hardboiled literature. Or if there is, you can pretty much guess that with Starr the macho guy is on road to Hell.

Starr is very good at depicting sociopaths and narcists. His are heroes who think everybody likes them and everything succeeds for them. Same goes for the main male in his newest book, The Follower. Peter Wells is a nice-looking guy in his early-to-mid-twenties, working at a gym, having a load of money, buying a cozy apartment. He's empathetic and can converse with a girl for hours. Who wouldn't like the guy? You'll soon know there's no reason to like him. Starr's actual protagonist in the novel, Katie Porter, finds that out too late. And even before that her life is a mess, consisting of a bad job, having no money to live in New York and getting mixed up with largely emotionless young kids who learn their human skills watching porn. No Sex and the City here.

The Follower is, I think, Starr's longest novel to date, but that didn't trouble me at all, even though I was more at home with the brevity of Fake I.D. and Nothing Personal. I had to stay up till two in the morning to finish this.

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