‘Get Blank:’ Book Review

The man currently known as Robert Blank thinks he retired from being a multiple agent of the Information Underground when he fled Los Angeles after accidentally engineering his own assassination in Justin Robinson’s first novel, Mr. Blank. He has a beautiful girlfriend, a respectable career as the owner of an occult bookstore, and just wants his previous personalities to fade away; however, if you’re the star of a tongue-in-cheek comedy noir, life is never that easy, and when Mina is framed for the murder of one of Blank’s former contacts, he reaches deep into his bag of tricks to prove her innocence, even when it might put him back in the path of the people he betrayed in his former life.

I’m not a fan of noir, simply because it often seems overwrought and too full of its own importance, but Robinson’s humorous writing style and self-deprecating lead character drew me into the complex world of the Los Angeles Information Underground without pause. The writing pops with energy, and every word seems placed for a specific purpose. At the same time, Blank’s world, a blend of real-life and fantastical versions of Los Angeles, comes off the page without any need for excessive description. While I didn’t need to constantly have my nose in Get Blank once I began reading, it was hard to put it down. Blank’s strange adventures enticed and amused me so much that I wanted to know how the competent, but somehow bumbling, lead would avoid disaster yet again.

The plot is peppered with hilarious pop culture references that walk a thin line between homage and satire. The various conspiracy groups are satirical in and of themselves, but Blank throws out comments about things as diverse as Carrie Mathison (Homeland) and Godzilla so naturally that I felt they had to be there. Whether the little in jokes will last the test of time remains to be seen. They’re highly accessible to current readers, and if you’re like me, you can play “count the pop culture icons” as you read!

Get Blank isn’t a book I can say much about without giving away the entire convoluted plot, but I do heartily recommend it. The geeky, funny, well-written love letter to both Los Angeles and the noir genre pulses with originality while treading a well-worn genre path. Readers will be kept on their toes until the very end, and you’ll be wondering how much of the Information Underground is fiction and how much is fact by the final page.

5 New IDs for New Identities out of 5

Last modified on Monday, 31 December 2018 19:44

Jodi Scaife, Fanbase Press Social Media Strategist

Mid-30s geek type with a houseful of pets, books, DVDs, CDs, and manga

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