Page Count 256
Publication date June 2019/ Publisher Flame Tree Press
Amber Hawthorne and Jolene Morris, business partners and roommates at the Hawthorne Funeral Home, are drowning in debt. People are complaining about the makeup jobs they’re giving deceased loved ones–the word clownish has been used–and both young women have a little trouble keeping their partying habits in line.
When they start selling body parts on the black market to keep their business alive (Jolene much more reluctantly than Amber), their new buyers seem friendly and trustworthy enough at first. That is until the dead gangster they’ve recently parted up turns out to have been full of disease. Now Amber and Jolene’s buyers want something else to make up for lost profits, leaving the two undertakers to learn sometimes running your own business can cost you an arm and a leg. Literally.
Chop shop is a fast moving storm of violent crime with a wry sense of humour.
Every single character in the novel is a total mess! Each with a weighted history on an inevitable course of self destruction- bad choices and desperation for all involved.
I’m not sure what it says about me that this made me enjoy it even more!
Every person is irreparably flawed and yet Post managed to give them very subtle, endearing qualities that left me rooting for even the baddest of bad guys.
It was this that made Chop Shop such a fun read for me.
Post uses consecutive timelines to bounce between the perspectives of Frank the sawbones (i.e illegal doctor) and undertakers Amber & Jolene. The story unfolds as the women get caught up in the criminal underworld of supply and trafficking of body parts, whilst Doctor Goode desperately tries to stay out of the firing line between two rival gang families.
The relationship between Amber and Jolene was beautiful. The raw and unbreakable connection between these two culminates in a gruesome, heart-breaking sacrifice for both and their unquestioning dedication to each other was truly moving.
Maybe a strange thing to note, or atleast something I dont usually pick up on- the dialogue in Chop Shop is really really good. I realised after reading a conversation between Frank and Ted at the start of the book that I felt like I was sitting right there at the kitchen table with them. It wasn’t stilted or used to dump info it was just… natural. I find it very hard myself to write dialogue and often in books the content of it is quite basic. Post makes an art of dialogue, it was a joy to read.
I was surprised and thrilled by the end of Chop Shop. Post was unrelenting and brutal with his characters and pulled no punches in the final scenes. The separate plots weaved together in a perfectly synchronised ending, a quality I think hard to find in shorter novels.
Post has given us 238 pages of carefully chosen words. I wouldn’t edit a single one of them.
I received a copy of Chop Shop in exchange for an honest review as part of this blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Flame Tree Press