A Good and Useful Hurt

Author: Aric Davis
ISBN:      9781612182025

Why did I read it?  It seemed like it could be an interesting story and it was recommended for those who appreciated Stieg Larsson, though, having read it, I am now trying to figure out why.

What’s is about?  Mike is a tattoo artist with his own shop, who is haunted by visions of Sid, his girlfriend who committed suicide.   When he hires Debs to take on the piercing and body modification side of things, he starts to live again.   Mike doesn’t really question it when he receives a request from a customer to tattoo some of the ashes of his son as part of the tattoo of a baseball.   When a serial rapist and murderer takes the niece of a friend, Mike has a decision to make.

What did I like?  The writing style and very short chapters make it quick to read, but some of the subject matter made me a bit squeamish at times; a little less detail would have been fine with me, especially with the body modification, and the fate of one of the characters near the end.    It’s not an original storyline, but it approaches the hunt for a serial killer in an unusual way, exploring the spiritual aspects of tattooing and body modification along the way, in a manner I’ve not heard mention of before, making this book a curiosity for that alone.

What didn’t I like?  It cannot say why, but this story just didn’t appeal to me, despite the promise of the synopsis and the reviews I’d read.   I should like to make it clear, I read both positive and negative reviews, yet still thought A Good and Useful Hurt would be worth reading.   Several times, I put the book down, as I just did not care about the resolution of the main plotline, or anything else pertaining to the story, so found other distractions.  I can’t say I was bored, just wholly disinterested at times.

The characterisations are a bit flat at times, though perhaps I was expected to sense a distance between the main character and his friends.  Mike seemed such a loner really.    Personally, I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters in the book.

It’s not a bad book, nor is it a great book, and Aric Davis adds a new gimmick to a done-to-death* genre, but, it just didn’t grab, nor hold my attention.

Would I recommend it?   Not really, no.  I’m not sure to whom this book might appeal. 

Rating:  3½/5.

* No pun intended.

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