Wednesday 18 November 2020



The Ballad of Black TomThe Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a novella I've had my eye on for a while because that cover is great. And today was the day I finally picked it up.

Charles Thomas Tester is a bit of a hustler and not much of a singer, though he carries a guitar case with him. He lives with his sick father in Harlem but often finds himself in other places across New York.

The day he delivers a strange book to a strange woman in Queens, Tom's life is never the same...

Okay, this is quite an interesting story and I enjoyed it for several reasons. It's well written, has some great characters, the sense of location is really cool, and the Lovecraftian angle is very interesting.

I thought Thomas Tester was such a fascinating character and I really enjoyed spending time with him. His story was a combination of sad and engaging, with a mix of mystery that kept me interested.

Unfortunately, the cop Malone wasn't any of these things. Actually, I was very disappointed when Part 2 started and it was in his POV. He was such a boring guy. I just didn't care about anything he had to say or do, so the second half of the novella failed the beginning.

I was glad it ended with Thomas and loved the last line. I just wish we'd gotten the chance to follow him from start to finish and experience some of the wonders that were skipped over.

It's an entertaining read.

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