Saturday, January 28, 2017

My 1st Foray into Dark Fiction - Jeff Rosenplot's here there be dragons

I guess the genre dark fiction speaks for itself.  here there be dragons, by Jeff Rosenplot, certainly fits both "dark" and "fiction." When you finish this book, you will not want to immediately skip across a bridge.  However, I'm happy to say you also won't want to jump off that bridge.  But it's dark.

Here is the blurb.  And even it is dark:

We all have a past.  
Some things, we show the world.  Others, we hide so far down even we forget them.  When Mia met Sean, it was like an explosion.  Together, they found each other.  And then they found their darkness.  Mia tried to forget.  And then she tried everything else.  But your first great love, it never really lets you go.
Sometimes the best past is a dead one.

The story basically picks up about 10 years after Mia left Sean and Manchester (a fictitious city in Minnesota) behind and moved to Seattle. She tries a lot of different things to forget Sean, some of them very note(if not news)worthy.  And just when she thinks (even erroneously) that she has succeeded, something happens to throw it all up in her face.  What ensues helps us decipher who Mia is.

Jeff's writing is exceptional.  I want to give you some examples of that. But before I do, let me quote part of the book's forward.  This is something that I consider to be a true statement:  "I've never been in Mia's situation but I know people who have.  And unless you have, it's unrealistic to pass judgment."  This is a good takeaway, don't you think?

And I've got even another takeaway for you.  This is from a support group counselor who tells Mia:  "...your past is always your past.  It'll always ride along with you.  For some people, it's the passenger.  For others, it steers the boat.  The past is in control or you're in control." Pretty smart, eh?

Let me give you a few passages from here there be dragons. And let me just editorially say that between this one and A Gentleman in Moscow, I have recently come across some truly outstanding writing.

"...and her entire oddly-distributed body looked like an old sweater ready to slide off its hanger."

"Those who spoke seemed to recite from the same stale talking points, desperately trying to pop out some half-assed kernel of light from a perpetual power failure."

"Ally and Tom had been the PG-13 version of Mia and Sean, sort of the TV series based on the hit movie."

"Sean absorbed knowledge like a whale swallowing plankton."

And I know that this probably annoys some/all of you.  But I can't not tie in my reading to personal experiences/observations.  To wit:

1.  Mia sees someone cleaning up and asks him:  "Short straw?"  That is an expression I use a lot.
2.  Ally and Mia have a reunion after 10 years.  It reminded me of the reunion that Letty and Tiffany have in the TNT show, Good Behavior (the 10-episode season 1 just ended - and if you're looking for a really good show, you might want to give it a try).
3.  Letty comes back to Manchester for a funeral.  That made me think of the movie The Big Chill.

One final word:  Flawed people are inherently more interesting than those of us(?) who are squared away.  Don't you agree?


  1. Intriguing review, Lloyd. I'll put it on the loooooong TBR list. Also, I like the counselor quote.

    1. I know what you mean about the TBR list. It's nuts. But I always enjoy getting a takeaway from a book. It doesn't happen that often.

  2. Lloyd, check out Goodreads list of popular dark fiction, you've read several

    1. I just checked Goodreads dark fiction list and didn't see any books that I had read. Did I look at the right list?

  3. I'm hit or miss with dark fiction. Either I love it or hate it, rarely in between. Glad this one is worth the read :)