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Askew Review 15

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(Actvie Bladder) by Johnny Ostentatious. Fiction. Drama. 213 pages. Returning home after twenty years, a group of friends reunite for one purpose; 4 million dollars. A married couple, an aging punk rocker, and a geek computer millionaire meet in Philadelphia hoping to retrieve the cash they hid so long ago. However, hindering their chance at the money is time, rocky relationships with each other, and an asshole, disgraced cop intent on getting the money for himself.
Spanning twenty years, Noir Reunion begins in 2003, revisits 1983 with details of how these kids came across the cash and why they hid it, and then back to 2003 for the reunion and cash. The book flows very well and I like Ostentatious’ writing style. In fact, I read his first book, Ian Hahn: The Olfactory Empath (kind of a 1940’s private detective suspense set in the present day) and forgot to review it, but I did dig that book as well. Nick’s, the punker, story is funny and so not what the reader is expecting. While I did enjoy the read, I did at times think the author was trying a bit too hard to explain things, which momentarily slows the otherwise quick pace of the story. I’d give an example, but I am lazy and a lame reviewer. You’ll just trust have to trust me. I also thought a certain aspect of the ending came way, I mean way, out of left field and this fact disappointed me. However, the rest of the story overcomes the few issues I had and I probably shouldn’t have brought them up, but I am sitting in an airport and the guy next to me smells like ass, so I am taking it out on Noir Reunion. Fans of Charles Bukowski will double take at the brief mention of a character named Henry Chinaski. My God, the smelly guy next to me has brown turd looking stuff on this shirt. I am moving far away from him. Noir Reunion is a good character driven drama that’ll make you chuckle and wonder where the story is going. – Denis Sheehan



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