Wound Licker by Jason Johnson

I am no reviewer, but the absolute paucity of activity in this section has disappointed me. I want to read your assessments of books, so I will throw my own out there to see if it motivates participants.

Wound Licker is the story of a man, Fletcher Fee, loosely contained in the confines of civilization in Belfast as it exists in the age following the "troubles", as the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants is dubbed in the Emerald Isle. He begins to spiral downward through a series of violent acts that he loosely attributes a series of run-ins and loosely related circumstances. A fleeting encounter with a drug dealing neighbor, an infatuation with a shattered young woman known as "Wee Blondie", and drunken dealings with his fundamentalist-leaning Muslim work companion, Karim, lead Fee into a series of planned violent episodes that threaten to reignite the violence in Northern Ireland.

The device used to deliver this story is a real, or imagined (I won't give it away), microphone embedded in the dashboard of a government car used by the British Prime Minister. Fee works as a detailer for the yard that houses cars for bureaucratic envoys and treats this bugged car as his private confessional to allow the reader to enter his daily life, but also to see the socio and psychopathic workings of his mind as he deals with new stimuli in his day to day existence. The heightening of tensions in his Belfast neighborhood only serves to fuel his darkest whims which he gleefully recounts to the unknown person on the other end of the listening device.

The book will appeal to people who enjoy reading dialect. Since it framed from a first person perspective, the entire book is delivered in the street Irish of the rough and tumble neighborhood of Fletcher Fee's world. It has shades of Taxi Driver, only perhaps with baser and less pressing goals than those expressed through Travis in Scorsese's film. I can recommend it mostly due to its brevity... clocking in at barely over 150 pages makes it a light read. I also enjoyed it a bit more than most because of my personal heritage. I think that the mode of delivery grows thin after a bit of time and that a varied perspective would have lengthened and improved the book, but that the story would have needed a deeper point and a little fleshing out to warrant those types of changes.

It is an easy read, if, again, the dialect doesn't throw you (which it shouldn't), and not a horrible way to spend an afternoon. Don't expect a page turner, and seasoned readers will probably figure out the culmination and other key points far before they wish that they had...

5 out of 10 stars.