Waiting on a Bridge of Maggots is a niche book. If you like mainline fiction by popular authors, quit reading now, it’s not for you. On the other hand, if you like edgy, dark material that makes zombies flinch, read on.
The protagonist is a manager at a Home Depot type store who is in a mismatched marriage with an unfaithful wife. The marriage, his wife, and child are terminated in a plane crash returning from a trip.
The double whammy of losing his wife and child, along with the subsequent discovery of her infidelity, sends his life reeling out of control into a maelstrom of drinking, episodic violence, dissolute living and the stalking of a Jehovah’s Witness girl whom he rapes while in a drunken fugue. Nothing gets any better until the very end when his life evens out into a kind of stuporous decline.
The secret to deciphering the events resides with Grand Mal Press’ emphasis on speculative fiction and the second line of their marquee which reads, “The darkness is waiting for you.” It must be said that there are flashes of erudition from the author which gives the work a patina of respectability.
This story was not one that this reviewer could get on board with or understand. However, this is neither the author’s first work so fans of Robert White’s previous works will likely enjoy it. You may be one of these.
For those who are curious, the title is finally explained on page 256.
Norman West has been retired for almost five years and is loving it. He lives in Keizer, Oregon with two rotten Labradors, Bella (little wart) and B (for big, or black wart), a granddaughter, and a great-granddaughter. The dogs are so bad, he has to leave the house to read and review books. He considers himself an “idea” guy, so concentrates mostly on current events, science and religion. That last is a little problematic since he's an atheist, but he really does try to be fair and judge the work on its merits, not just on its truth claims.
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