Cracking heads and one-liners; it's all in a days work for ole Bucky...
What we have here is an example of “Southern Gothic”; for the uninitiated, what that entails is muscle-ripped monsters, a big bad American guy with oodles of attitude and a killer hangover and lots and lots of gore... with intermittent sexiness and copious amounts of cussing. A curious blend of horror, fantasy and action that somehow also exudes a certain degree of comedy, usually via the conduit of the fabulous one-liners of Bucky Dennis, the centre of the universe; The Gospel of Bucky Dennis is a rarity on this side of the pond and no doubt it will draw the attention of critics.
Absolutely, the plotline is predictable in the extreme; but that it hardly the essence of the story. The true essence is the rather intimate association and insight the reader gets with Bucky himself. The character becomes as familiar as an old friend from school, or those raggedy old pair of holey trainers you’ve owned for the past decade or so (the latter probably more so). Unpretentious in the extreme, The Gospel of Bucky Dennis is also, crucially, extremely readable. And yes, we are aware that we are perhaps overusing the term “extreme”; but then, no other word captures the crux of the book. It is meant to be extreme: extreme violence, extreme gore, extreme language, extreme action, extremely unrealistic. It is another form of fantasy; escapism from a dreary 9-5 job, into a realm of werewolves, vampires and a kick-ass bloke swaggering around swearing at everything and everyone.
The plotline? Your guess is as good as mine. The nexus is Bucky Dennis. Surrounding him is a myriad of monsters all intent on violence and the inevitable end-of-the-world type destruction. The result: lots of backside whooping, limb severing, blood splatter and drawling humour. It’s all a bit of fun and nonsense, with neither the story nor the author taking it too seriously. And in all honesty, the book makes you grin wryly whilst shaking your head; but you sneakily think the author must be a pretty cool guy to write stuff this fantastically surreal. All things considered, it’s a love it or hate it book. Not bad for a fledgling writer, and certainly better than being forgettable. J R Parks has a gift for spinning a yarn; one he should persist with.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012