‘One Bloody Thing After Another’

The Book Warm

By Terri Slichenmyer

. You’re running out of room for your collection, and you need more places to put things. The silly truth is that you never really wanted to start this, but somebody gave you one item, which begets another and another, and there you go.

Your sister likes angels. Dad collected tools. Little Jackie collects trees, and she has a map to keep track of them. But in the new novel “One Bloody Thing After Another” by Joey Comeau, Jackie isn’t the only collector in the neighborhood.

Jackie never meant to throw rocks through Mrs. Hubert’s car window, but it wasn’t exactly an accident, either. When Jackie saw that the first-kiss tree was missing, well, she just lost her mind. She was sure that she should care about a first kiss, but she didn’t really like boys so the tree wasn’t as important as, say, the broken-arm tree or some of the others. But cutting it down like that? Not good at all.

After she was arrested, Jackie asked to go to the bathroom, where she said the magic word and became invisible. Her dead mother’s ghost came, just like she usually did, to throw up in the toilet.

Across town, Jackie’s best friend, Ann, had her own problems. It started when her mother took to the basement and howled all night. Ann and her sister, Margaret, had to find meat to keep their mother fed, and it wasn’t easy. Rats and mice weren’t enough, so they captured other animals. And then, Mother bit Margaret.

At the retirement home, Charlie had a routine. Each day, he’d walk Mitchie, the world’s stupidest dog. Then they would follow the headless ghost up to Mrs. Richards’ apartment.

When Jackie can’t find the dead-mother tree, Ann can’t find enough to feed her family, and Charlie can’t find Mitchie, everybody finds a happy ending. More or less.

“One Bloody Thing After Another” is a quick read and Comeau’s characters are quirky enough to keep your interest. There are a few chuckles and a creepy undertone of malevolence that makes you want to squirm. But it’s beyond weird. Weird like, did I miss something?

This isn’t a book for everyone. If you need a story that makes total sense, pass on this one. But if your literary tastes run to the oddly macabre, move your other novels aside.

Terri Schlichenmeyer collects books, tigers, trivia and book bags. She has also been accused of collecting dust now and then.

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