I'll spill the first line:
"You are hearing the screams of a small, fat man."
And from the tone of this, the scene is set for pain and indifference in equal proportions. Throughout the book the reader is encouraged step deep into lightless rooms that narrow until the reader is trapped, barely breathing, when the book is done.
It all takes place in Quinsigamond, New England. A place out of time, inhabited by the tortured and the torturers. The human thread holding it together is Gilrein, a one time cop, now apathetic hack driver.
Behind him, the death of his wife Ceil, a cop killed while working under the twisted genius of the Inspector. Beside him, a unique item sought by men willing to do worse than kill for it and an ex-lover working for a sadistic biblomaniac. Before him, the promise of pain.
This book is wound tightly around words and language. How they can infect, defy and obsess a man until there is nothing left but the word.
Another of only a handful of books that have left me slack-jawed at the sheer genius of the author.
And writers crossing genres love it as much as I do.
from Michael Kimball (author of Undone): "To call this novel a noir thriller is like calling the 9th just one of Beethoven's symphonies.
Jack O'Connell is a writer's writer, and Word Made Flesh is virtuosic. From the first word, he immerses you into barely imaginable darkness of the human psyche. O'Connell's words slice; his images leave you squirming. You'll want to put this book down; in fact, you'll want to take it outside and bury it deep. But you won't be able to. It's the kind of nightmare you don't want to wake up from."
to William Peter Blatty(Exorcist): "Word Made Flesh gripped me from beginning to end."
to George Pelecanos (Soul Circus): "From its bravura opening to its apocalyptic conclusion, Word Made Flesh is a frightening, exhilarating ride. In four remarkable books, Jack O'Connell has riffed on language, fire-cleansed genre conventions, and stripped the artifice from the modern noir novel, creating a body of work both exciting and entirely original. Word Made Flesh has the power, and permanence, of myth."
to Katherine Dunn (the author of another Jen favorite, Geek Love): "The dark incantations that open and close Word Made Flesh are mesmerizing. The scope of the book links enormous and terrifying acts of imagination ... A potent cocktail of Lovecraft, Poe, and hardcore American noir."
And, to fuel the fire, an interview with the Dark Word Master himself. He looks so... normal.