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Review: Jokers Club by Gregory Bastianelli

Jokers Club is a quick read with plenty of twists and turns. Geoff is a failed writer with a brain tumor, returning to his hometown for a reunion with old friends (who, for the most part, were more tormentors than friends). His friends start dying and weird things start happening, but its uncertain whether these are real or caused by the tumor.

The Joker describes Geoff’s writing as “contrived” and he is definitely on to something. To me, it seemed like a mash-up of other work. At first, I thought it sounded far too much like It by Stephen King. As I kept reading, it seemed more like The Dark Half, with a little bit of the movie Identity stirred in. None of it seemed new or fresh to me.

The book isn’t a lost cause; I think a good editor could have helped Bastianelli pinpoint some weaknesses, areas where the story could be improved. It requires a lot suspension of disbelief. Would the people — some of them in desperate personal and financial straits — travel hundreds of miles to hang out with childhood buddies? Could it be possible that the sheriff, the local loony and others around town really haven’t changed a bit since Geoff left home? And even if there is a twist at the end that probably explains all of this, am I likely to hang on until the end if the rest of it seems unrealistic and not terribly compelling. While there are some interesting bits, too much of Jokers Club seems recycled.

Jokers Club came to me through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

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