Friday, March 20, 2020

Book Review: 'The Geek' by Jonathan Latt

The Geek by Jonathan Latt
Southern California author Jonathan Latt states he is a life long lover of comic books, video games, science fiction and fantasy. Though he writes and consults in science fiction and fantasy THE GEEK ‘is more of a hardboiled, pulp, thriller and quite dark at times. Every moment spent looking at Jonathan Latt’s biographical information results is giggle and guffaws: he is a natural humorist with a wit that whistles.

Jonathan seamlessly introduces his assassin lead character in the first paragraph - ‘Gary had been staring at the old French farmhouse for two hours and seventeen minutes. Every nerve ending in his body was poised to move but he made himself stay completely still. He wanted to run in there and do what he was being paid to do. He also promised himself he’d wait to see if anyone else showed up before he did. He gave himself the arbitrary waiting period of three hours before going in and the clock was ticking down. As far as he knew, the only person inside the farmhouse was his target. He’d followed him from the city center, taking the metro out to the end of the line. The last stop was in a sort of no man’s land that divided Paris from the countryside. From there he’d followed the man south to the outskirts of the Loire Valley. He knew he should go in and put one in the man’s head, but Gary wasn’t in the mood to kill someone today. Today he was in the mood to kill many someones. It was days like today, and targets like this one that made him love his job. At least it helped him remember why he used to love his job.

The provided synopsis distills the fast paced story very well – ‘Gary Geiecki (pronounced Gee-ecki) is a skilled assassin. He's been an unofficial CIA killer for the past twenty years and has decided to retire. There is no such thing as a truly perfect assassin and Gary was no exception. He was, however, very good. Gary left a wide trail of bodies behind him, over his long and productive career. Riddled with childhood insecurities and social awkwardness Gary desperately tries to move forward with his life after retirement. He quickly finds it is far easier to kill someone else than it is to kill the ghosts of the past. Gary soon learns that what is in the past doesn't always stay there. His greatest enemy... a man thought long dead... is back and seeking vengeance. Gary must now fight for not only his life, but everyone he holds dear and finally put this last ghost to rest. Gary will learn that the old saying You can't go home again isn't exactly true. You can go home again, but you shouldn't.’

Jonathan mixes raw language, with plentiful expletives, with a keenly honed sense of dark humor that makes this otherwise frightening tale one that provides a pow! on nearly every page. Moments such as, ‘“It’s not Nerd or Dork or Spaz, its Geek… The Geek,” said Gary calmly. He pointed the gun at Sidney’s forehead. “That’s a terrible codename. You should ask for another.”

There is a new space carved out in contemporary pulp fiction and Jonathan Latt rules! Grady Harp, December 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.