Going into Guy Adams’ Deadbeat: Makes You Stronger, I was admittedly put off at first by the fact that the narrative is conveyed by both of the leading characters, Max and Tom. There are chapters that jump from the point of view of Max to Tom and back again. This might not be a problem for other readers but it sometimes makes it hard for me, personally, to quickly identify with a character and therefore come to care about him. However, Guy Adam’s take on switching the POV around ends up working quite well in this novel which is filled with plenty of suspense, humor and thrills. And the portrait that Adams paints drags the reader into a grimy, dark pulp-fiction word fluidly and convincingly.
The two “heroes” of the piece, Max and Tom, are old friends and former actors who now make their living through a jazz club that one of them owns. When they notice some very weird happenings around a local graveyard (one of the coffins being transported has a living body inside), they take it upon themselves to investigate what’s going on. Now, these working class blokes are the last people that anyone would consider to be detective material, so pursuing this mystery is basically a recipe for disaster, which is where much of the humor comes in. What could have easily been a straightforward horror novel successfully weaves in dark humor that I found worked very well. Also, the main characters are quite likeable which makes it easy for you to feel for and relate to them instead of just finding them to be crass and annoying.
There were some aspects of the storytelling that did fall a bit short as some of the narrative did lose me at times. Adams goes back and forth in time which I sometimes found a bit confusing and which would jolt me out of the story. But that aside, he writes very well and he’s able to create vivid worlds for his readers to escape into. The plot is exciting and enjoyable and is able to keep the reader’s attention.
Overall, Deadbeat: Makes You Stronger is a successful novel in both its plot and narrative structure. I look forward to reading more from Guy Adams and recommend this to any reader who enjoys horror, dark humor and crime fiction, especially when they’re all mixed together. [subscribe2]