Book Review: JAKE’S WAKE

jakeswake_cover1I don’t normally review books here, but JAKE’S WAKE is, in several ways, a reason to celebrate. As a long-time fan of author John Skipp (he wrote several classic horror novels in the 1980s with co-writer Craig Spector, including THE SCREAM and THE BRIDGE), it was interesting to see him collaborating with someone new, writer Cody Goodfellow. The result is a novel based on a screenplay Skipp wrote, which he is also making into his first feature film, JAKE’S WAKE.

As I said, I’ve been a fan of Skipp’s work with Craig Spector (the novels that originally made him famous), as well as his solo work (his recent Leisure novella THE LONG LAST CALL, which was paired with his even better novella CONSCIENCE), so it was something new to see him working with Goodfellow here. But the result is something very good indeed.

The story involves Jake Conaway, a former rock star turned televangelist (and part-time pimp) , a truly despicable character, who dies and is somehow raised from the dead. With his trusty (and vicious) henchman Gray at his side, Conaway goes back to his home, where his wife and a group of others are holding a service for him, to turn their lives into a living hell.

As he rains down awful torments on those he left behind, it soon becomes apparent that he’s not the only supernatural being on the property. Some ghosts from his past have also come to join the party, and they don’t necessarily have Jake’s best interests at heart.

I thought Skipp and Goodfellow worked well together, and despite some slow spots early on, the book soon gathers momentum and drags you by the hair to the very end. While I stubbornly prefer some of the old Skipp and Spector novels, it’s good to keep in mind that this is the first time Skipp and Goodfellow have collaborated on a full-length novel, and the fact that this is such an enjoyable read is a good omen for things to come.Since any future Skipp & Spector novels seem unlikely, I think we’re in good hands with Skipp and Goodfellow. And I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more from them.

I really recommend this novel.

***

Also, in deaths, Ron Asheton, the guitarist for The Stooges died. He was 60. The band, led by vocalist Iggy Pop (before he gained bigger fame as a solo artist), started in 1967 and heralded in the era of punk rock before its time. The Stooges may not have been hit-makers during their heyday, but their albums certainly had something to do with the birth of punk, and influenced literally thousands of bands that have formed since.The Stooges broke up in 1973, but recently reunited to tour behind an album of new songs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the reunited band in concert. Now, I wish I had.

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