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review 2020-03-19 14:55
Heartbroken - Lisa Unger

So COVID-19 has helped me realize even more now than ever, reading a bad book through the ending is a terrible idea. I got to 20 percent and hit the Did Not Finish button. This is just all over the place and boring me to tears. There are too many characters that we jump back and forth to.  Back to the book stacks (virtual) you go!

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review 2019-01-25 03:49
A fast, fun, and bullet-ridden adventure
A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps - Nick Kolakowski

Bill is a con man, a hustler, a grifter with a gift -- one that has been put to good use by the Rockaway Mob until the day that Bill has had enough. He just can't keep going the way he's been going. So he leaves New York and heads off on his secret plan to leave the country. Of course, before he left town, he helped himself to a large amount of the Mob's money to fund his retirement. Which is as popular a choice as you can expect.

Only . . . his plan isn't as secret as he thinks and people are on his tail immediately. A pair of employees are sent to take care of Bill and retrieve the cash. And then another is shooter is sent before those first two have even had a chance to fail. And it's a good thing that happened.


Which is all I should probably say about the plot. Very little goes the way you think it'll go once things get rolling. What follows is fast, fun and violent. It's the least subtle critique of civil forfeiture possible -- and a whole host of other things.


The backup assassin is our entry into this world, these characters -- .he's notorious, he's infamous, he's "that guy." And . . . he's kind of falling apart -- his wife can't handle his vocation any more and is divorcing him. His point of view chapters are a mix of attitude, a little snark, mayhem and despondency. Somehow, that mix is a blast.


On the other hand, we have Bill -- who you somehow can't believe was ever brought into the fold by the Rockaway Mob, but he's clearly good at what he does. But little else, it seems. He has a real knack for moving from fire to fireplace to somewhere hotter yet. One of the other assassins sent after him was the one who brought him to the Rockaway Mob, who vouched for him. Her name is Fiona, and she's one of the fiercest, deadly, aggressive characters you've met recently -- and at least until recently, was in love with Bill (not that he treated her too well in his exit, and probably cooled her affections as a result).


This is a novella -- and there's not a lot of space for character development, for fully drawing out a character -- and while these three aren't as well drawn as Kolakowski has in other work, they're good enough for what he's wanting to accomplish here. (I hope that doesn't sound like a slight -- it's not supposed to be). They may not be fully drawn, but they're a lot of fun -- and there's some intriguing emotional beats between them and some of the other characters in these pages.


This book is primarily an exercise in violence -- there's a hint of torture, just a hint (but most of it happens off-screen). What's not hinted at are explosions and gunfire. There's a lot of it -- the literary equivalent of so much of the stylized cinematic violence inspired by Tarantino in the 90's. It's adrenaline set to music -- think Edgar Wright action scenes, but more lethal -- to skip a couple of decades (actually, I bet this novella would pair well with much of the Baby Driver soundtrack).


I had a hard time accepting how the last few chapters went, because I had the wrong idea about what Kolakowski was up to with this book (and, I bet, the next two books that follow). But I had a blast with it -- even the last chapters, once I gave up my preconceptions.


This is a fast, lean novella -- there's not an ounce of fat, not one unnecessary sentence to this. Kolakowski has a story to tell and he tells it. I knew going in that this was going to be a fast read, but I couldn't believe how quickly I got through it -- between the lean prose, the fast pace of the book and the action scenes, this was just a bullet train of a read (no pun intended).


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. My opinions expressed above are my own. I appreciate the book, but I didn't sell out my opinions because of that..

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge
2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/01/24/a-brutal-bunch-of-heartbroken-saps-by-nick-kolakowski-a-fast-fun-and-bullet-ridden-adventure
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text 2013-10-15 18:33
I'm not really good at writing because English isn't my first language, but I wrote something and I have a nagging desire to just post it somewhere...

Sure, you have seen me cry,

You've seen me cry because I like to live in the moment,

Because I am passionate and because I am childish,

And YES I like drama, especially if I get to be the fucking star of it

Not because I love the lime light, it’s because I love the intensity of feeling something,

When you've experienced feeling numb all you crave for is finding that…

Once you do, you strive to never let emotions go…to live in the drama of life



But I just want you to know that even though you have seen me cry,

None of those tears belong to you,

The ones that do are the ones I keep in a treasure box I only open when I am alone,

You are the equivalent of pain in my book,

But I never want you to have the satisfaction of knowing how much of me you broke.

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review 2013-09-09 00:00
Heartbroken - Lisa Unger Picked this paperback up in a resort bookstore to pass the time and really enjoyed it. Family drama on a summer island spanning a couple generations and loosely woven other characters' stories that come together.
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review 2013-08-25 00:00
Heartbroken - Lisa Unger 3.5 star read
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