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“What’s the difference between a serial killer and an assassin? A pay check.”
Jack is a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist with a secret second job. Since he was a smart-ass grad student slinking around New York’s Upper West Side and Brighton Beach, he’s been working as an assassin for the Russian mob.
Beginning at the end – that is, with an aged, incontinent, and at last truly alone Jack, his mind made up that tomorrow will be the first day he kills someone he loves: himself – If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing, June 4 2015] tells his story in rearview, providing an all-access-pass into the enviable, high-flying life he clear-cut for himself against all odds…and the (literal) trail of dead he left along the way.
The debut novel from sixty-eight-year-old Manhattan author Steve Rappaport, If Jack Had is, much like its protagonist, more than meets the eye. A caper comedy featuring sex and drugs, blasphemy and blood, far-flung exotic locales and all the other stuff that makes for good, not-so-clean fun, If Jack Had also happens to have a big, beating heart. Beneath the surface, it’s a meditation on family, fatherhood, the indignities of aging, the inevitability of loneliness, and the preciousness of life itself.
Steven Rappaport, age 68, has been a stock trader, pot dealer, itinerant hippie peddler, cab driver, retailer, and is currently a successful commercial real estate salesperson in Manhattan. He offers a simple rationale for his first novel: “My eldest son, Jack, died at forty from a progressively debilitating, unknown neurological disorder. This brilliant boy, a Vassar grad, never got to live the life he deserved. I’ve infused him with one.”
If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing] is available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in brick-and-mortar bookstores nationwide as of June 4, 2015.
Find If Jack Had on Goodreads and at http://ifjackhad.com
I think the blurb description of this book is very apt. It is dark, and it is ironic. This is a gritty, no-holds-barred type of book that will not be for everyone, but those who love it will truly love it.
I’ve always liked narrators that get right to the heart of the story and tell you how they feel about life, and you definitely get that with this book. From his adventures as a much younger man to the final moments of his life, this narrator gives it to you straight and doesn’t hold back.
This is the kind of book that keeps you wondering what will happen next, makes your imagination run wild and then twists and goes for shock value when you don’t expect it to. Kind of reminded me a little of Pulp Fiction, at least in the way the atmosphere of the story came across.
I think people who enjoy books that are a bit outside the conventional will find something to love here. There’s some dark humour worthy of a good laugh, an interesting story and a character strong enough to lead a book like this. Overall, I thought it was definitely worth a recommendation.
This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.