A Blind Eye to the Rearview
by Eric A. Jackson
Abattoir Press (2012)
I've had a couple notes handed to me in bars over the years. Maybe that's why I don't go to bars that much anymore. Anyway, as creepy as finding a note to you in a bar might be, finding one ordering you to kill your already long-dead father just might be the creepiest. And that's precisely how this story begins.
Jebediah Crane has a lot of emotional baggage--not to mention the physical scars--of a troubled life. And when he finds that note from some anonymous taskmaster, it's not like he is utterly opposed to the idea of murdering his own father. After all, he's missing a eye because of dear ol' dad. But the ultimatum of killing pappy or facing an untimely end himself is a tricky one on account of his target being put in the ground over a decade ago. What Jebediah wants is to find out who wrote the note, and to do that he will have to go on a journey into his past, his psyche, and shakes hands with all those old skeletons in his closet.
The blending of horror and crime genres is immediately palpable in this novella, but the literary flare proved a bit murky at time for me. Jebediah and his ex-girlfriend, Delaney, who appears to him as a specter on his journey are the two standout characters in this psychotropic bullet ride of a story. She's a bit of a touchstone for him as he tries to solve the mystery, though she's as much a distraction as a compass.
Had this been an entire novel, I might have been pressed to finish it, but with less than a hundred pages the story hums--albeit off-key at times--with an ending that satisfies. I wasn't blown away by the book, but I'm definitely keen to see what else Abattoir novella series has in store, and what Eric A. Jackson has next up his sleeve.