Neon Junction by Don Boles

Neon Junction by Don Boles
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (81 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Neon Junction is a contemporary short novella involving a down and out security guard, (with an imaginary cockroach as a friend), and a single mother making her living as an exotic dancer. Jamie Skinner is a security guard, not quite thirty, and already an alcoholic with no prospects in life. He has fallen through the cracks of society, existing mostly in his own mind. Chrissy Wagner was a young girl attending college with hopes and dreams when real life stepped in. Then there is Stan, an erudite cockroach that only Jamie can see and hear…

Some folks are destined to live charmed lives. Unfortunately, Jamie and Chrissy don’t seem to be these kind of people.

Imagine taking advice from an insect. Stan was originally what drew me to this tale, and he turned out to be my favorite character in it as well. His wry approach to Jamie’s barely-functional life made me grin. I’d never really considered the idea that a cockroach – even an imaginary one – could have such a well-developed sense of humor, but it blended in beautifully with everything else the plot revealed about this character.

It took me a while to adjust to switching between the two narrators. They had such different outlooks on the world that it was occasionally odd to move from one perspective to the other. This technique would have worked nicely in a full-length novel, but there simply wasn’t enough room in a short story to get to know both of them as well as I would have liked to do so.

The last few scenes were surprising. They weren’t exactly what I was expecting them to be, although they did make sense given everything that happened to the characters earlier on. I appreciated the fact that these scenes made me pause and think of certain events that were mentioned in the beginning and middle. There’s definitely something to be said for an ending that keeps a reader guessing!

Neon Junction doesn’t easily fit into any one genre. I’d recommend it to anyone else who also enjoys books that defy classification.

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