Review: The Big Crush by David J. Schow

The Big Crush by David J. Schow
Subterranean Press (February 28, 2019)
125 pages; $40 limited edition hardcover
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand

David Vollmand is like a lot of people: he has a job that confines him to a chair and a screen every day; he has a good friend to tip a beer with after work; he has a loyal dog waiting for him at home; and he has an unrequited love from many years ago. Like many people, he finally gives in to temptation and hops on the Internet to see where “the one that got away” got away to.

Unlike many people, reconnecting with an old flame could cost him his

In David J. Schow’s new novel The Big Crush, opening the door to a woman from his past doesn’t involve David in a messy relationship or a one night stand. Instead, it lands him smack in the crosshairs of two groups of hit men. One group is connected to the mob; the other, more dangerous group, is a sort of assassin corporation called CHASE. Both groups have their reasons to want David and his old flame, Daisy, dead.

Schow, an accomplished screenwriter and novelist, brings a cinematic feel to this familiar setup. Bullets and plot twists fly with abandon, with Schow refusing to let either his characters or his readers take a breath. The book only slows down when Schow interjects his thoughts on the dangers of social media. It’s clear the author has very little respect for those who rely on the “Likes” and “Shares” of strangers to embolden them, or for those who over-share their personal desires and opinions behind carefully constructed online identities.

Also, there are times when the book ceases to read like a novel and reads more like a gun manual. I’m all for accuracy in describing weapons, but at times these chunks of information took me right out of the story. Fortunately, the action is so good that, once Schow gets back to it, it sucks you right back in.

I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy Schow’s asides on fiction vs. reality, or even his detailed rundowns of weaponry, but personally I would have preferred a leaner version of The Big Crush with some of this material excised. That bit aside, if you love action-packed books filled with showdowns and steeped in that unique L.A. atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with this one.

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