Review of Breakfast at Cannibal Joe’s, Jay Spencer Green

Originally published on Reedsy Discovery. 

There is very little I can say without spoiling Green’s humorous thriller, and it is difficult to review after reading the Acknowledgements section which extolled and indicted this novel in equal measure; as Green essentially thanked others for their patience whilst he wrote this bizarre tale.

The book is exceptional – exceptionally written and exceptionally strange. It is an exploration of extremes, it is dystopian and darkly hilarious.

The structure allows multiple characters and their quirks to unravel at a timely pace; erupting into several plot twists by the end. It also allows Green’s talent for black comedy to take the edge off, lulling you into a false sense of security and giggles through clever, tongue-in-cheek cocktail recipes beginning each chapter, and abstracts our protagonist Joe Chambers has read that week.

As a writer Green does not shy away from the risky and obscene. We are given the brutally raw and honest inner monologue of Chambers, crude and graphic descriptions of Frank’s misdeeds and grammatical liberties are taken for Estimulo’s megalomaniacal monologues. Thus, nothing happened as I expected it to because Green follows the conventions of a spy thriller whilst simultaneously turning the genre on its head.

And with this, I daren’t say anymore as I shall be at risk of spoiling it. So, take it on good faith then, that Green has created something new and clever in Breakfast at Cannibal Joe’s. I laughed and grimaced throughout; and although it was slow to start, it was worth it by the end.

 

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