HIgh Life BOOK review [Matthew Stokoe]

Book Reviews
HIgh Life BOOK review [Matthew Stokoe]
Aug 15, 2002, 14:25

High Life by Matthew Stokoe; Akashic Books, 2002

The first installment of Akashic Books' Little House On The Bowery series is a Los Angeles based murder mystery that makes the infamously unsolved Black Dahlia case from the 1940's seem like a Disney Production in comparison. Hollywood hanger-on Jack's soon to be estranged wife Karen, is found dead and disemboweled shortly after receiving a large sum of money in exchange for one of her kidneys. Jack vows to find the perpetrator of the murder and thereby becomes familiar with Bella, a woman who is suspiciously aware of many details of the case. Bella is in a position to help Jack further his career in Hollywood so he eagerly follows her into a sexual underworld that traffics in fetish porn, incest and necrophilia. Readers who are able to make it through the graphic descriptions of brutality may recognize some similarities between the forces that motivate furtive behavior in High Life and the cut throat actions of fame-obsessed power searchers who long to join the Beautiful People of Hollywood. Though Stokoe's novel contains some hallmarks of Noir Fiction—psychological intrigue, blind hope and wizened despair—it more closely resembles an internal horror story.

- Jeffrey L. Ouch

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