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Last Burn in Hell: Director's Cut [Paperback]

John Edward Lawson

Price: £8.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

15 Dec 2006
Kenrick Brimley, the state prison's official gigolo, hangs over a lava pit on trial for his life in a strange land. He will reveal the course of his life one misguided step at a time for his captors. From his romance with serial arsonist Leena Manasseh to his lurid angst-affair with a lesbian music diva, from his ascendance as unlikely pop icon to otherworldly encounters, the one constant truth is that he's got no clue what he's doing. As unrelenting as it is original, Last Burn in Hell is John Edward Lawson at his most scorching intensity, serving up sexy satire and postmodern pulp with his trademark day-glow prose. The Director's Cut includes: deleted scenes, alternate ending, photo stills, remastering for more enjoyable viewing, and more!

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read -- with extras! 6 Jun 2007
By Craig Clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Kenrick Brimley (call him "Ken" or "Rick" but never "Kenrick" -- and he's no relation to that other Brimley who "eats the oatmeals") has a job you didn't hear about at the high school Job Fair. He works at the local women's prison as a sort of conjugal consultant, offering Death Row residents one final night of pleasure before the state kills them. The closest thing he has to a long-term relationship is with Leena, a convicted arsonist whom he has visited multiple times due to the various postponements of her execution.

Last Burn in Hell: Director's Cut is a newly expanded edition of the first novel (and reportedly the first of a series) by John Edward Lawson -- publisher, editor, author, and Bram Stoker Award-nominated poet (for The Troublesome Amputee). Just like the special edition DVDs of your favorite films, this book offers deleted scenes, an alternate ending (that lets the reader choose between "into the sunset" and "final confrontation" styles), a soundtrack to assemble, promotional stills, and more features that make it a must-have even for those who already have the original edition of Last Burn in Hell.

Lawson tells the story as a modern-day pulp-style adventure, with Brimley going from one implausible situation to another in rapid succession (see David Dodge's The Last Match for a good example of the style). We can only sit back and watch as Brimley goes from prison guard to Death Row gigolo, from pop star hanger-on to movie-set masseur, and from the inadvertent next big rap superstar to the inadvertent instigator of a rash of suicides.

Brimley's strange adventure itself would be enough to make Last Burn in Hell: Director's Cut a fun read, but the author also satirizes the style and himself in the process: he's quite aware of how unbelievable the whole thing is (and especially how his character is going through all too familiar fictional situations), and embraces it with fervor. But instead of seeming cliched and trite, it all adds up to a skewed kind of originality.

A few political statements worm their way into the story, but they're presented with a good deal of humor -- as if to say Don't take me too seriously ... but pay attention! -- that makes them go down easy. John Edward Lawson is very much a man of ideas (one need only read his poetry to understand that), and Last Burn in Hell: Director's Cut shows that not only is he constantly coming up with new ones, but he is also unlikely to run out of them anytime soon.

[A final note: Though it would be easy to slap a label on it based on Lawson's prior work (especially his appearance in The Bizarro Starter Kit), don't call this book bizarro. Lawson has used the picaresque method, very familiar to the mainstream, to tell his story, and Last Burn in Hell: Director's Cut is really no stranger than, say, John Irving's early novels. In fact, it would very likely appeal to fans of The World According to Garp, and it deserves that large and diverse audience.]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget all you know or think you know 12 Jun 2007
By R. Malfi - Published on Amazon.com
Okay--forget for a second that John Edward Lawson is a fantastic writer. Forget that he's assisted in the pioneering of fringe and unusual literature. Forget, too, that his fiction is capable of making you physically recoil in horror one second and eliciting uncontrollable laughter from you the next. For a second, despite all that, let's focus on this book.

The story of a gigilo in a women's prison--when it was originally published, it had everything you'd think such a story would have. Here, the "Director's Cut," plays out like a special edition DVD, replete with bonus scenes, behind-the-scenes, alternate endings, and even a soundtrack (that probably WON'T play in your CD player). Lawson has taken creativity to a whole new level, insisting that the publishing industry as a whole stand up and take notice. The George Orwell of our time, John Lawson illuminates the new direction of fiction...then punches it square in the face.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prison life, Mexico, Pop stardom, and WEIRDNESS... 11 Sep 2007
By J. Krall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You know those crime movies you stumble upon late at night? The ones that were made (you assume) somewhere in the late 1990s? There's lots of action, backstabbing, double crossing, and sex? It's the movies that usually star some B actors you see everywhere but can't name. You know the type. The ones that aren't art films or heavy-handed attempts at making a "serious" film but rather fun crime romps through the desert, through Mexico, in and out of dangerous situations? Sexy women, strong men, strong women and action. Lots of action. Well... this is what LAST BURN IN HELL is like.. except the plot is warped with a keen sense of weirdness.

The feel of the novel reminds me of those films (which I love). Like a cross between TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M., RED ROCK WEST, ... and other such neo-noir films.. except LAST BURN IN HELL (director's cut!) has a sense of humor.. and a sense of the bizarre that'll satisfy fans of the odd, the surreal, and the strange.

I won't go into the director's cut angle. Actually, okay, I will. It's a gimmick but a good one. Deleted scenes, alternate ending, and even a soundtrack (well, no, you can't really LISTEN to it but still..).

I'm fairly sure that this is John Edward Lawson's first novel. If it is, well, then pat yourself on the back for even considering reading this. It's exciting, funny, weird, and fast-paced. All good ingredients for an entertaining read.

Humor. It's funny.. but not really absurd funny (well, not too much). It takes a lot of shots at pop culture and that makes for some good laughs.
Organization. There are little chapters and blurbs here and there (like a top 10 US singles chart.. which ties in later with the story). They're clever and funny.
Plot. The story moves along and the reader encounters many different characters in many places. If this was a movie, it'd be one where you wouldn't be bored for a minute.

Confusion. Especially towards the end. I'm guessing that because the author writes a lot of poetry, he may be use to setting the stage using obscure imagery. That works in poetry but in fiction, it can sometimes make it difficult for the reader to figure out just what is really going on. I don't consider myself an unintelligent person but by the end, I wasn't too sure what exactly happened. I get the gist of it.. but there are just some details and events that confused me. Again, some people may not feel this way. Regardless, it shouldn't stop you from buying and reading this book.

You should read this book. It's fun and entertaining as hell. The fact that it says "Director's Cut" should clue you in to the fact that it flows like a movie albeit one with some weird twists and turns. The set-up is original; the characters are original and/or humorously based on real-type people.

This is a "bizarro" book that you shouldn't miss.
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