I’m reaching a point at which I’m entering Bizarro books with less and less skepticism. Not to be a complete snob, but I see “weirdness” as a delicate thing. Too many people try to be “weird” and “random,” but their efforts fall flat, aren’t interesting, and stink of “trying too hard.” You probably know the type. After a couple of years of reading books that fall into the Bizarro category, though, I’ve hardly been let down. When I picked up Squid Pulp Blues, I faintly felt my skeptic swimming around, just below the surface- but by the time I got to chapter 3, he must have drowned, and I was hooked on Jordan Krall’s story.
I can be a bit lazy with books, even short ones, but I finished this one the same day I started it. The world of Squid Pulp Blues is a colorful and interesting place- one of my absolute favorite aspects of the book is that Krall doesn’t attempt to explain everything the characters encounter. There are strange and mysterious things in Thompson, New Jersey that remain strange and mysterious to both the reader and the town’s inhabitants. Life doesn’t always give you answers and, thankfully, neither does Krall. Of the 3 stories, I feel that the first and third are stronger than the middle child, but all 3 are pretty entertaining.
As a minor sticking point, there were just a few too many squid references. Every once in a while, I’d think “yeah, ok, squids, I get it.” The book could also use another round of editing. There’s typos, and a few instances of duplicated words. At one point, the word “both” was spelled “book.” How does that even happen? OVERALL, this is a quick, addictive read, and it’s convinced me to pick up another Krall book in the near future.