24 January 2011
Book Banter -- Lowlifes
Author: Simon Wood
Length: 139 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Online, http://www.lowlifes.tv/
Plot Basics: SFPD cop Larry Hayes wakes up in an alley in San Franscisco's seedy Tenderloin district, four hours of his life missing from a bad batch of the painkillers he's addicted to. One of his confidential informants, a homeless man named Jon, is found murdered. Jon called Hayes with important information before Hayes' missing time and Hayes know he's a prime suspect for Jon's murder. Complicating the investigation and his own decline is Larry's custody battle for his daughter and that if he is a junkie and a murderer, he'll never see her again...
Banter Points: This whole project is pretty nifty -- part of the story in a novella, part in webisodes and part as a blog. I only delved fully into the novella (I'm a Word Nerd, after all) but I love the whole idea. The novella is a great read. Hayes has all the vices and virtues of the any of great detective. The amazing part is that Wood manages to squash this terribly complicated character into less than 150 pages when other writers spend a whole series developing a character like that.
Bummer Points: The ending is the place where the three separately told stories intersect. It felt a bit deus ex machina to have the PI who's story is in the webisodes suddenly showing up in the novella and playing a crucial role in the ending. I guess maybe that's the hook that I wanted to know about the PI and so I started watching the webisodes. Still, I wish the convergence of all the characters hadn't felt so startling.
Word Nerd Recommendation: All in all, a fun new project that's worth checking out. Best part, it's all free over at www.lowlifes.tv.