December 12th, 2018


My two favorite books of 2018

Gil Roth asked me and thirty authors to weigh in on their favorite book of 2018 for The Virtual Memories podcast. I chose a graphic novel by two veterans of the comic book form, and a debut novel written by a seasoned actor. You can listen to it here:

KILL OR BE KILLED (published Image Comics)
by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser

I've been a fan of Brubaker's writing ever since he was a pup in the comic book industry, writing & drawing indie-comix. He once got mad at me and threatened "You're one pubic hair away from getting punched in the face." Later on, he crashed my apartment in Brooklyn when he flew in from LA to pitch and score a career-changing gig writing Batman, Cat Woman, and Gotham Central, which led to his ground-breaking Captain America run which introduced The Winter Soldier. After a successful time writing for DC & Marvel Comics, Ed returned to his roots and has produced a plethora of creator-owned comics with his art partner Sean Phillips, published by Image Comics. KILL OR BE KILLED is a great first person story where the narrative is intense yet unreliable as a tortured man exacts brutal justice upon criminals at the behest of a demon. The subtitle could've been "sick of it all." A great read that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Fans of Martin Scorceses' TAXI DRIVER and Jonathan Ames' YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE will enjoy KILL OR BE KILLED.

THE PERFUME BURNED HIS EYES (published by Akashic Books)
by Michael Imperioli

Whenever you hear that an actor is writing a novel, you roll your eyes. How dare we except the concept that an actor can do anything more than pretend on screen and/or on stage. You wonder if he or she had a ghost writer or maybe they're transitioning to books because they're aging out of their perceived demographic. At best, you think he or she should just write their tell all book from their life and time in Hollywood. Not this time. Not this guy. Michael Imperioli is the real deal. Having written episodes of HBO's The Soprano's and other stuff, including a feature length movie, Michael's novel debut is a coming of age story in the big bad New York city of the 1970s, where a 16-year old boy must confront and negotiate sex, drugs, and an upstairs neighbor cum spiritual mentor in the guise of rock music legend, Lou Reed. Michael's writing is blue collar yet irreverent and all too human. THE PERFUME BURNED HIS EYES is a great brisk read with a mountain of heart.