Disintegration Author: Richard Thomas Series: A Windy City Dark Mystery 1 Publisher: Alibi, May 26, 2015 Format: eBook, 223 pages List Price: $2.99 ISBN: 9781101882627 Review Copy: Provided by the Publisher
“A dark existential thriller of unexpected twists, featuring a drowning man determined to pull the rest of the world under with him, Disintegration is a stunning and vital piece of work.”—Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting
In a brilliantly stylish breakthrough thriller for fans of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and Will Christopher Baer’s Kiss Me, Judas, here is the compelling tale of a man who has lost it all—and is now navigating a crooked, harrowing path to redemption.
Once a suburban husband and father, now the man has lost all sense of time. He retains only a few keepsakes of his former life: a handmade dining room table, an armoire and dresser from the bedroom, and a tape of the last message his wife ever left on their answering machine. These are memories of a man who no longer exists. Booze and an affair with a beautiful woman provide little relief, with the only meaning left in his life comes from his assignments. An envelope slipped under the door of his apartment with the name and address of an unpunished evildoer. The unspoken directive to kill. And every time he does, he marks the occasion with a memento: a tattoo. He has a lot of tattoos.
But into this unchanging existence seep unsettling questions. How much of what he feels and sees can he trust? How much is a lie designed to control him? He will risk his own life—and the lives of everyone around him—to find out.
Disintegration is the story of a man with no name whose world has fallen apart completely. His family gone, he devolves into a killer. We never learn his name but slowly over the course of the novel we learn what happened to him to cause his fall. It is heartbreaking.
Being inside the protagonist's mind is not a fun place to be. He's confused, drinks to excess, takes drugs, and kills. The world through his eyes and actions is a very violent and unforgiving place. There are moments of clarity, but the reader, much like the protagonist, is never sure what is real and what is not.
The novel is unrelentingly dark for the most part, but despite my thorough dislike of the main character (at first) I couldn't stop reading. There are moments when you begin to glimpse the man he used to be; to feel and understand his incredible loss; to hope that he pulls himself out of this.
Thomas' Chicago is bleak and unforgiving - S&M clubs, sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, death. You just can't look away from the grit, depravity, and seedy people. This a fascinating and disturbing neo-noir novel that kept me on edge from the beginning confused moments to the clarity at the end. Thomas' writing is razor sharp and Disintegration will stay with you long after you finish reading.
About Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications. Nominated for five Pushcart Prizes, he is the author of the novel Transubstantiate and two short-story collections, Herniated Roots and Staring into the Abyss. Thomas lives with his family in the Chicago area.