Tender as Hellfire is a colorful, imaginative, extremely humorous, yet ultimately truthful novel. The themes and motifs within are tight, the story given to us in entertaining instances that combine in the end as one whole picture of an alienated youth. Meno shows his talent for storytelling by simply casting his character into a chaotic environment and seeing how that charatcer will react. Simple as that. Within it is contained a complex story of a child trying to come to terms and cope with his father's downfall, so that he may escape a similar fate and rise above his 'cursed' surroundings.
It's a good read that moves well, entertains and will be remembered as a colorful piece of contemporary style. For how can one ever forget the Pigpen mascot scene? The King of the Tango? Chief? The fire motifs add a nice edge and hold it all together. The novel is by no means perfect; a formal review could name various flaws, but this book comes from a first time novelist who, with such voice, color, style and humor can only get better. If you like an easy read and cutting edge stuff, this is a great book to check out.
But a note to St. Marten's Press: fire your copyeditor. First time authors are already at a disadvantage, why make their situation harder by your incompetence in printing?