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The Unnoticeables: A Novel (The Vicious Circuit) Hardcover – July 7, 2015
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" The novel's author, Robert Brockway, is a senior editor at Cracked.com, and he brings that publication's legendarily irreverent wit to this raunchy, rollicking tale of punk rock, gruesome horror and pop-culture satire."―NPR
"A nasty, freaky, and haphazardly funny horror story."―Kirkus Reviews
"Strangely readable, with unexpected depths."―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
ROBERT BROCKWAY is a Senior Editor and columnist for Cracked.com. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Meagan and their two dogs, Detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. He has been known, on occasion, to have a beard. He is the author of Everything is Going to Kill Everybody, The Empty Ones, and The Unnoticeables.
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I've been part of the punk rock scene, or at least, hung out at a punk rock house, and it was delightful how accurately Brockway portrays that lifestyle here. The characters he creates, and their interactions, feel real, and you want to spend time around them, even though they're a bunch of worthless drunks. They're colorful, funny, disgusting, and surprising all at once. It's too bad, too, because the villains don't hold a candle to them.
Okay, maybe that's too harsh. The backstory of the villains and the overarching tapestry that Brockway creates are pretty darn awesome - you get the sense of this vast, spooky, haunted hell of a grand plan, and its epic nature comes out in bits and pieces like in his awesome creations called the Tar Men, roiling stinking masses of black sludge with two brass gears for eyes. Then there's the Empty Ones, hollowed out husks of humans that basically act like robots. And sure, they're amazing. But Carey and the gang are much more interesting. It will be interesting to see how the villains get developed in later books - hopefully they'll catch up to the colorful nature of the cast.
Another downside to this book? The action. Everytime some sort of fast paced moment crops up, the clarity and juicyness of the characters and the situation they're in dissolves into chaos. Brockway is excellent at painting a picture of a scene where some people are sitting around shooting the breeze - in fact he is excellent. But when it comes time for dramatic movement, it devolves into a mechanical description of 1. This guy fell. 2. That guy punched. 3. This happened. 4. THAT happened. It gets boring. When the climax of the novel is reached, I found myself missing the times when the gang would sit around getting drunk and talking about nothing.
All this and I've still said nothing about Kaitlyn? Well, the novel doesn't have much to say about her either. Whereas Carey has this rough-and-tumble devil-may-care charm, Kaitlyn is a pretty straightforward, unremarkable, inoffensive girl. Not terrible, but looking back I can barely recall anything that stands out about her.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend Brockway's novel. It's not a good as John Dies at the End or This Book is Full of Spiders, but it does seem like it might be the sort of novel to break out into movie or TV show form, or even a graphic novel. It has that epic potential of a grandiose idea made more terrifying through how it impacts a colorful cast of characters. It's twisted, dark, and just plain wrong on a lot of levels, but it's also a whole heck of a lot of fun.
"Mrs Winslow, the nice lady that lives on the second floor, who, thanks to a series of misunderstandings, thinks I'm some sort of a raging psychopath, gave me an odd look as I sprinted past her, soaked, swearing, and brandishing a butcher knife over my head."
The horror is disturbing on several levels. Sometimes it's a gross-out moment, and at others, it's the deep, creeping dread that collects in an icy cage around your nethers as you wonder if everything you've been taught about the universe and how it works is simply wrong or, worse, a lie. In this sense, I found it reminiscent of some of Stephen King's work that eschews the jump-scare and instead goes straight for your soul (such as the big reveal in King's novel Revival). The time jumps from chapter to chapter also reminded me of the classic It.
Brockway paints a wonderful image of the 1977 punk music scene that reminds me of my own time in my local music scene in the 1990's and which made the characters in these chapters very relateable for me.
I recommend this book highly, and can honestly say I WANT A SEQUEL! I'm dying to know what will come to pass in 2047.
"The Unnoticeables" was probably my favorite book of 2015. The story is fascinating in how it jumps forwards and backwards in time and then hits you like a freight train when it all meets up. The characters are wonderful, the bad guys are some of the most creative I've seen in a while, and the story feels a bit like how the movie Constatine should have felt. It's hopeful, depressing, bizarre, and a damn good time.
I cannot wait for the next two books in the series.
Most recent customer reviews
The story switches from 1977 New York to 2013 Los Angeles.Read more