Reviews of Blood

“Blood” is thick; it oozes with family intrigue, February 3, 2011
Becky Warden

This review is from: Blood (Kindle Edition)

Mitch had his vas deferens cut so he could shoot only blanks. He’s a killer and predator whose divine solution is to end his family line. His past is clogged with murders, his hands guided by the many evil incarnations of his brother-in-law. Hiding in an institution behind a fetish for ladies underwear, he reminds me of a deadly and learned version of the deaf/mute Native American Chief in “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest”, feared and watchful. He’s a professor of death discovering his past, scratching it down on whatever paper is available. He protects and exploits his cellmate, manipulates the guards, struggles to interpret the will of his sisters. “Blood” is thick; it oozes with family intrigue and offers apocalyptic remedies to the plague called the human race.

Jack Remick’s mind is a theme park and “Blood” is its haunted house., January 23, 2011
Ryan Winfield “Ryan Winfield” (Seattle, WA) –

This review is from: Blood (Kindle Edition)

If you like scary rides, if adult content warnings excite rather than deter you, or if you’ve ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a killer, then you’ll love reading “Blood” by Jack Remick. A prison love story and a treatise on the history of writing, I am certain “Blood” will become a cult classic–if it doesn’t become a bestseller first. This novel could only be better if it were handwritten in blood; and who knows, perhaps the manuscript was. I bought the Kindle version from Amazon and liked it so much I’m buying a printed copy as well.

Review of Jack Remick’s Blood, Camel Press, 2011, December 26, 2010
robert j ray (Seattle, WA USA) –

This review is from: Blood (Paperback)
Review of Jack Remick’s Blood, Camel Press, 2011

At the heart of Jack Remick’s Blood is a man writing a memoir. The manuscript is 4,000 pages long. It’s stashed in the prison library, sandwiched between two literary classics written in French: 120 Days of Sodom (the Marquis de Sade) and Our Lady of the Flowers (Jean Genet).

The man is writing not only to pass the time – he got five years in prison for stealing women’s underwear from the dryers in the laundromat – but also to record his real crimes. In prison, he discovered he had killed the wrong men.

The title of the memoir manuscript is The Patron Saint of Blood. It began in red ink on toilet paper. When the red ink bled, the man tore pages from library books. When the manuscript grew, the man negotiated a typewriter and paper from the Governor. When the manuscript lost itself in its own darkness, the man negotiated a computer. The evolution of the manuscript – from pen and paper to typewriter to computer recreates the evolution of writing in our time

Blood is told in First Person. It has one hundred and twenty chapters. The narrator is Henry Mitchell, a mercenary who tallies his kills with a string of ears cut from the dead. The manuscript allows Henry – his cellmate lover calls him Mitch – to dive back into his past, where he runs memory-movies: his first woman, his first driving lesson, his first boy’s school, his first lover, his first kill.

Blood seethes with memorable characters. Henry gets a visit from his sister, Geraldine, who has sold herself to Henry’s brother-in-law, Carl Fairweather, the Corporate CEO who hired Henry to kill the small brown men who stood in the way of fat corporate profits. There is Henry’s cellmate, Squeaky, small, sensitive, lovable – who needs saving from the horrors of prison. There is Henry’s other sister, Catharin, who spilled her life in India trying to bring Hindus to Jesus. The minor characters – guards, the Warden, the Judge, the female cop who arrests Henry for stealing women’s underwear – are comical in their grotesque intensity.

Remick’s prose sings – a love song, a paean for the dead, a mesmerizing chant, or an aria from an opera – because like any great writer, he knows the power of verbs:

“The machete is two feet of death, a steel extension of the hand. Its edge, sharpened, crushes, fractures, severs, maims, bludgeons, hacks, cracks bone. The machete sings its own solitary aria as it works deep into the body. It is the hand hardened in fire and bathed in blood, tempered until it chants its own oratorio. This is death, this is the weapon of weapons just once removed from the stone, the sound of metal cracking bone is the song of the machete.”

I can’t tell you much about the climaxes. There are two, they are both perfect. But I can tell you that once you start this novel, you will not be able to put it down. So here’s where you start: “It’s hot in the laundromat. Hot and moist as the inside of a woman’s….”

Robert J. Ray
The Weekend Novelist

“Blood is a HOT read!, January 3, 2011
Marianne Y. Ray
This review is from: Blood (Paperback)

“Blood” is a HOT read!
Like a miner shining his torch on the mother lode, Remick exposes carnage of the inner and outer worlds of Mitch, a sociopath imprisoned in his labyrinthine mindcave. I was mesmerized by the psychological and poetic fugues flowing through the arteries of “Blood.” The sinuous currents propelled me ever deeper, probing into Mitch’s haunting inferno. I loved the excursion!

A novel that will be hard to put down, December 30, 2010
Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)
This review is from: Blood (Paperback)

The mind of a killer is nothing like you’d expect. “Blood” tells the story of mercenary Hank Mitchell who departs the family business and lands in prison for a crime wholly unrelated to contract killing. Finding romance in prison, he finds a new passion as well, only to find that the contract killing game doesn’t want to give him up. A fascinating novel of a truly unusual character, “Blood” is a novel that will be hard to put down.

A fascinating story by a gifted writer, January 28, 2011
Karen Heines (Washington State) –
This review is from: Blood (Kindle Edition)

Blood tells Mitch’s story in the present and flashback with seamless transitions. In prison he realizes that he is gay and accepts it. He tumbles into love for the first time and jealousy rips him apart. While everyone else watches cable, Mitch roams the library alone, digging out hidden books by Camus and Reage, treasuring them as gold. That’s just the first twenty-five pages.

Mitch is a complex combination of intelligence, erudition and self awareness. He’s the most fascinating and unique serial killer since Hannibal Lecter.

Remick’s descriptive and well paced writing voice seduces the reader into Mitch’s world.

Bloody good read., January 17, 2011
F. Araujo “The old dude” (Sacramento, CA , USA) –
This review is from: Blood (Paperback)

Every once in a while a book pops up that is both ghastly and good. Blood, by Seattle Poet and writer, Jack Remick, is a remarkable novel. The literary maven will find it resists being boxed up and stuck into a generic mailbox. It’s not simply a thriller, a mystery, a roman a clef, an exploration into Gay life or a slice of American life. The eclectic theme and motifs which abound in this work allow one to fit it into several categories. The book is a damn good read and blends modern minimalism with French structuralism as found in the work of Cormac McCarthy.

The story is raw. A mercenary with a clothes fetish who at once deals with his own sense of misanthropy by seeking asylum in prison and within that sealed off world, hunts a sanctuary in the prison library in the work of Camus, Genet and de Sade. The language is raw, poetic and images gush out, forged in a crucible sex, depravity and unspeakable cruelty. The mythic subtext of the story will please the Jungians: the central character is so lost in his own retreat from a weeping, woeful world that he’s ceased to personalize killing other human beings and does so with little passion and an absence of malice– much like the mafiosi in Puzo’s work, “Nothing personal– just business.” No remorseful samurai, torn between a sense of moral right and duty, Hank, the taker of left ears emerges as a hybrid of archetypes— a minotaur, seeking solitude in a labyrinth of his own making, raping, killing, eating in his own way those who would penetrate his secluded realm.

As an anthropologist with over 28 years working in Third World developing countries, I found the depictions of Hank’s mercenary encounters to ring true. Reading fiction on the Third World usually demands I release my own “been there, done that, seen it,” experience but this author has traveled, has read and has seen for himself how damn bad the human condition can be in other places. Too, his discussions of the French writers leave no doubt that he is not only fluent in the knowledge them but he has also read them in the original.

Blood is not a book you will read at one setting. The writing, though straightforward good Anglo-Saxon prose, is dense, chewy. The storyline is relatively simple but the characterization and transitions demand and capture attention. It’s a thoughtful, penetrating read.

Mitch – Love him or hate him? I’m still not sure., February 19, 2011
Donald Anthony Ollivier (Vancouver, Canada)
This review is from: Blood (Paperback)

In Jack Remick’s “Blood”, Mitch, the protagonost/Antagonist (it’s hard to tell sometimes which part he plays) is calculated, corrupt, highly moral and intensely loyal. He’s also a cold blooded killer and in jail for stealing women’s underwear. Once he’s caught and sent to prison, he’s happy for probably the first time in his life, paying the price for crimes he committed but not convicted for. He’s a completely tortured soul, but one that I was pulling for the entire novel. I couldn’t put it down.

BLOOD, by Jack Remick, January 30, 2011
Sherry Decker (Sammamish WA) –
This review is from: Blood (Paperback)

Mitch is efficient. He doesn’t waste time. Send him to kill someone and that person is dead. Not tortured, not terrorized, not bruised or battered. They’re taken apart and cannot be put back together. There is a lot of violence in “Blood” – what would you expect from a hired killer? For years Mitch collects the left ears of insurgents. He gets paid by the ear so he turns in sacks full of ears, ears so dry they rattle when he collects his pay. Mitch can kill with a finger, his hand, a book, or a fan blade from the motor inside a clothes dryer, whatever is handy. Mitch slices open the throats of his victims to form neckties with their tongues, and then steals and fondles women’s underwear in his spare time. Gay? Maybe. What choice did he have once in prison, but with his full throttle sex drive he must find satisfaction, wherever, and he finds it with Squeaky, his young, naive cell mate. He loves Squeaky, the way you love your little brother, or maybe your pet dog. If someone hurts your dog, you give them a tongue necktie. It’s only fair.
“Blood” is a powerful, unforgettable read and Jack Remick is a brilliant writer.


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