I’m a writer, not a book reviewer, so I don’t normally critique books I read. There are others far better at that sort of thing than I, like Adrian Shotbolt of The Grim Reader, Jim Mcleod of Ginger Nuts of Horror, and Shane Douglas Keene of Shotgun Logic. If I’m not particularly impressed by a book, I usually won’t mention it in public at all. If I like a book or its author’s other works I’ll absolutely share it on social media. But when I love a book, as in the case of The Rib From Which I Remake The World by Ed Kurtz, I can’t wait to tell others about it. Because, like I’ve said before, word of mouth is a writer’s best friend.
This novel is spectacular. The story itself is a bit of a horror/noir hybrid, heavy on the “horror,” with just a soupçon of Stephen King’s Needful Things. It’s about the WWII-era town of Litchfield, Arkansas, which has been visited by a very odd theater troupe.
But the story is mainly about George “Jojo” Walker, a man who is introduced to you not long after a series of terrible events have all but ruined his life. Very noir. Just after the inciting incident—a murder in the hotel where Jojo works as the house “dick”—things go quickly sideways. What follows is the horrific tale of a man who must save his home town from an insidious evil while at the same time trying to save himself from his own past. Jojo is aided in his mission by a small cast of other colorful characters, as well as hampered by a pair of truly despicable villains. Whether he finds redemption or damnation in the end, I’ll leave for you to discover.
Ed Kurtz is one hell of a writer. There is a depth of imagination and intelligence in his storytelling that I’ve not come across in some time, and I found myself envious of his talent as I read this novel. That doesn’t happen to me too often, so you must appreciate how hard that is for a self-aggrandizing, hypersensitive writer like me to admit. But good is good, and Kurtz fucking is.
So I urge you to get The Rib From Which I Remake The World by Ed Kurtz, now. You won’t regret it.
Well. Maybe after you turn out the lights.