“Zoey said, ‘…This whole thing happened because I got up last night, because my cat got hungry and I had to go find a fork, and I stumbled into that conference room and saw Will and Ling and their cop friend messing with a severed hand.’
Budd said, ‘A severed what?’ and Andre said, ‘Your cat eats with a fork?”
Cracked.com editor and cult author David Wong of “John Dies at the End” and “This Book is Full of Spiders (Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It)” has come out with his third book, “Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits: A Novel.” If you have not yet read Wong’s first two novels, you should immediately go to Amazon and download them. I’ll wait.
In “Futuristic Violence” the author abandons his autobiographical first-person character and John, the heroes of his first two books, in favor of Zoey, a trailer park heroine with a smelly cat who gets tasked with trying to save the universe this time around. In the beginning of “Futuristic Violence,” I really missed David and John. It took me a little while to get invested in Zoey. But somewhere around Chapter 10 I started to seriously love her. Underestimated by four slick and polished power players, Zooey manages to turn the tables on them with only her quick wits and instinct for survival. Not to mention some well-placed bon mots.
The plot revolves around Zoey’s unwanted inheritance of her ne’er-do-well father’s vast fortune, and all of the baggage that comes with it, including the aforementioned power players and an evil arch-enemy. The storyline is much more focused and linear this time around, staying with Zoey instead of hopping around between different points-of-view. Whereas the first two books, which dealt with other dimensions, reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft, this one is more like Phillip K. Dick. The book’s villains are spawned from a nightmarish future where technology fulfills its evil potential, much like the futures portrayed in television shows like The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror.
Along with the Phillip K. Dickish futureworld, the book also contains all of the humor and weirdness of Douglas Adams’ books. Most of the laughs come from unexpected plotlines and ridiculous situations, with Zooey’s eccentric father providing plenty of comedy from beyond the grave.
David Wong has not lost his skill for clever phrases, amusing dialogue, and unusual but illuminating descriptions, such as, “Everyone in the room stood silently in place, staring at Zoey, as if the universe had finally created a moment so awkward that it had stopped time itself.” He also uses fantastically visual metaphors like, “The spiral staircase had finished draining everyone into the room.”
“Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits: A Novel.” is entertaining and funny, with lots of action and suspense. David Wong’s landscapes are populated with unlikely heroes facing impossible odds, and the close calls will have you gripping the book tightly until the very end. There is also the possibility that within its pages, you just might find some words of wisdom that will inspire you to look for the unlikely hero within yourself.