Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review: Voiceless by Trent Zelazny

I found Trent Zelazny through Twitter; people I respected were following him, so I did the same.  His father, Roger Zelazny, was one of my all-time favorite science fiction authors, and I was interested to see what Trent was like.  This candid interview says a great deal about him as both a writer and a man.

Voicelessavailable through Kindle Unlimited, is an extraordinary piece of writing.  It's a disquieting thriller that grabs you by the shirtfront, gets right in your face, and keeps you there, uncomfortable, until it's done.  Not when you're done.

The main character, Max, isn't terribly likable, but you find yourself rooting for him all the same.  Describe him as hapless, call him Mister Milquetoast, but don't count him out.  Trapped in a bitter, loveless marriage; trapped by circumstance in a town named Broken Dream (with its very own Trash Street, no less); trapped in a house with a terrible past; and trapped in his own head with all its fears and impotence, Max has a feeling of defeat about him, but he isn't quite pathetic.  There's a core to him, an essential integrity; it just takes some real nastiness to bring it out.

And nastiness does happen, from petty, cringe-worthy rounds of marital fighting to terrible, life-ending violence.  Nobody emerges unscathed, and several don't emerge at all.

Trent's prose is packed with dark, almost hallucinogenic imagery both within Max's head and without the town of Sueño Roto, making one a haunting mirror image of the other.  When everything comes together in the last quarter of the book, it's impossible to put down.

Voiceless is a book that stays with you in a way only certain books can.

Five out of five stars.

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