If you’re a fan of dry wit and have not followed E.A. Aymar on Twitter yet, now is a great time to start. I happen to be such a fan, so Aymar has quickly become one of my favorite new-to-me authors to follow on social media (fans of J.J. Hensley will find another kindred spirit in Aymar). This is just one of the many reasons that I’m thrilled to share his book recommendation with you for #30Authors (the other being that he promised #30Authors group photos at book conferences, should he happen to run into any other “members”), so I hope you enjoy him as much as I do. Happy reading!
#30Authors is an event started by The Book Wheel that connects readers, bloggers, and authors. In it, 30 authors review their favorite recent reads on 30 blogs in 30 days. It takes place annually during the month of September and has been met with incredible support from and success in the literary community. It has also been turned into an anthology, which is currently available on Amazon and all author proceeds go to charity. Previous #30Authors contributors include Celeste Ng, Cynthia Bond, Brian Panowich, and M.O. Walsh. To see this year’s full line-up, visit www.thebookwheelblog.com/30authors or follow along on Twitter @30Authors.
E.A. Aymar Recommends FLOODGATE by Johnny Shaw
It took me three nights to read Johnny Shaw’s novel, FLOODGATE.
The first night, I got depressed. I set Shaw’s book down, woke my wife, told her how good it was. When we’re not bullshitting ourselves, writers are keenly aware of our strengths and weaknesses, how we stack up to our colleagues and competitors. Shaw’s book isn’t just good, I told my sleepy wife. It’s unique, original, funny, scary, sad, miles ahead of most novels out today. It was hard not to be envious, impossible not to be enthralled. My wife fell back asleep. I kept reading.
I almost finished FLOODGATE the next night, but it was late and I wanted to savor the end. I set the book on my nightstand and tried to sleep, but it was an act of will not to pick the book back up. I felt like a duck with a dog’s head was staring at me from the nightstand; I’d never come across anything quite like this novel.
FLOODGATE is ostensibly about Andy Destra, a former cop bent on uncovering the corruption in fictional Auction City, but the stage’s curtains are swung open and, suddenly, you and Andy are looking at a startlingly new city, one whose foundation is perilously weak. The city is fully-realized and flawed, complete with fictional excerpts from interviews, articles, songs, and more that reference defining moments in Auction City’s history. All this in a couple of hundred pages.
“Why do you like it so much?” my wife asked the third night, after I’d finished the book. “What’s it about?”
FLOODGATE reads so naturally that the difficulty in describing it is only apparent afterward. It’s a story about a fictional city threatening to implode; a tale about a lost man searching for a home; a rumination on the terrible necessity of violence; an unflinching look at the corruption in everyone and everything; a thriller that tackles you without slamming you down; and its interspersed with the kind of lovely moments that come from carefully-crafted prose.
I don’t know what qualifies a book to stand the test of time but I suspect, a hundred years from now, someone could read FLOODGATE and it will still make sense, and be as necessary as it is today.
And yes, my wife is reading it next.
About the Author
E.A. Aymar is the author of I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead (2013) and You’re As Good As Dead (2015), both from Black Opal Books. His column, Decisions and Revisions, appears monthly in the Washington Independent Review of Books, and he is also the Managing Editor of The Thrill Begins, ITW‘s online resource for aspiring and debut thriller writers.In addition to ITW, he is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and SinC. He also runs the Noir at the Bar series for Washington, D.C. He holds a Masters in Literature and lives with his wife and son, and a small animal menagerie, just outside of D.C.
He is also involved in a collaboration with DJ Alkimist, a NY and DC-based DJ, where his stories are set to her music. For more information about that project, visitwww.eaalkimist.com.