on 29 February 2012
Danny 2.3 Road Movie, is the forth (but thankfully not the last) installment of the Danny Quadrilogy, which really needs to be read in the right order, so if you haven't already, do yourself a favor and buy the first three right now.
Road Movie is spectacular in its breathless pace and exciting revelations. I'm not going to summarize the plot as I don't want to give away too much. Much more than the other volumes, this reads like a psychological thriller. It keeps you guessing at every turn. Is one of the characters a psychotic killer or just a victim of his past? Do Ian's infamous diaries contain the truth or more lies?
The tension (sexual and otherwise) is constant, running like electricity through the narrative. In between cinematic action scenes, there are quiet moments of confessions in the dark, which illuminate the main characters and their troubled childhood.
As in all previous installments of this epic, intricate, spell-binding novel, the plot is completely unpredictable, takes sudden twists and turns, and ends leaving you panting for more.
on 7 March 2012
I love DANNY, I must do, the basic numbers tell me so - how long I read it at a stretch, how many hours a day I read it etc... In fact, even my Kindle charged down during this reading. I hate getting near the end of DANNY, I slow down my reading. On my Kindle I've enlarged the font to make more pages. I dread the end of the book. Road Movie doesn't just draw you in, it pulls a knife and tells you to get in the van. DANNY's picaresque adventures begin straight after the cliff hanger ending of Eilean Mhor. On the run and desperate for the outside world not to intrude, Road Movie begins a crackerjack thriller narrative for DANNY, you/know/who and Sunderland, the fallen copper. This being my favourite yet, populated with a cast of urban and rural underworld oddballs (one, like a supporting character from a Cormack McCarthy Border novel, actually having a forked tongue). Oh, and there's heat going down, not just in the recurring motif of heat throughout the book, but some very teeth grindingly close shaves with the cops.
Now the UK doesn't have many authentic road movies to it's name; neither possessing the European soul searching existentialism nor the open freeways or the pioneer spirit mythos of the US. There was Butterfly kiss by Micheal Winterbottom, a film that might be in the same Venn circle as the DANNY quadrilogy. Ballard had a fascination with motorways, but didn't write a road movie as such. Chancery Stone has though, yo-yoing between Scotland and the south in various vehicles (including a very special motor home). Sexual allegiances change hands, ever with the ghost of Ian present, reaching a sexual shrieking hell of projections, power and degradation; leaving Sunderland slowly sinking into the mire as the two brother's mutually destructive dotage threatens to bring it all crashing around them. Going to hell in a hand-job if you will.
The law of diminishing returns is invalid here: the vividness of the characters is still there as in previous DANNYs, up to the level of a virtual reality universe. The literary references come fast: Shirley Jackson, Shakespeare, even lovable rogue Alistair Crowley (there were more but I'm embarrassed to say I've forgotten them, for shame). There are glistening truths confessed, some of them even real, but it's like the hall of mirrors scenes in Orson Welles' Lady From Shanghai, one is desperately trying to find the real static image in a kaleidoscope of oscillating truths. DANNYs childhood is recalled, with the Grand Guignol horrors of both his and John's childhood abuse. For me these scenes answer the censorious reactions to DANNY of out/to/shock or gratuitous depravity. Context IS EVERYTHING, child abuse is an undercurrent of our society, not just "stranger danger" but within that sacred of institutions- the nuclear family. DANNY addresses the complexities of incest, revealing what the War Zone novel merely touched on (worthy though it is). One last thought on this theme, DANNY's monsters have an aura of authenticity about them, unlike Poppy Z.Brite's (another female writer of realistic male sexual shennanigans amongst other things), who remain in the realm of the fantastic (again, although very worthy indeed).
Ultimately Road Movie asks more questions than it answers, much like the 70s European cinema that US road movies were inspired by, there's also an anti-bourgeois sentiment at play, but that may just be me. Fortunately we've got DANNY: The Changeling to come later this year, promising genuine closure. There should be badges available for us fans, like in the Truman Show, asking "How Will it End?". For this reader Chancery Stone has created a new and original sub-genre, Abuse-Noir? I believe Art can be a hammer, rather than a mirror, the DANNY quadrilogy somehow manages to be both.
on 15 April 2012
DANNY The Road Movie, the forth book in the series, is exactly what it says on the tin, an exhilarating ride through the UK and more importantly a ride through Jackson Moore history. Each book so far has given us an entirely different genre of writing with the main story remaining intact through out, it really is a fete of absolute genius. Anyone who has not had the pleasure of these book is missing out, and should purchase book one without a moments delay.
As for book 4, it is such a thrill ride, it's fast paced and enthralling, fully packed with police hunts, violence, deceit and the always present potent DANNY sexuality, there really is no other book series to rival it in that aspect. When a new DANNY arrives (after the hysterical screaming dies down) I know it's always going to be a hot one, and here we are not disappointed.
As for the family matter, for those who have read the rest of the series, you wanted answers? Well here they are, by the bucket load. But as it should be there is no correct answer and there are no two the same. All family members voices are present and correct, whether in the flesh or from beyond the grave, and sometimes it's the dead that shout the loudest.
I really don't want to give too much away as the twists and turns and unpredictability of the DANNY series is one of it's greatest aspects. I will just say, if you are already on the DANNY bandwagon Road Movie is the same sort of perfection we have come to expect and more, more excitement, more sex and most importantly we get more information on the most intriguing bunch of people that have ever been in print. If you are a new comer you are in for one hell of a ride, and I am so jealous that you get to discover this amazing series from the start. It really is the best set of books ever written.