Review: Spungunion by John Boden

Spungunion by John Boden
Dynatox Ministries (2017)
123 pages; $12.99 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Chad Lutzke

The reality is this:  Life is just a balloon floating dangerously in a roomful of lit cigarettes.

A lonely truck driver sets out on a desperate course to find the one who killed his wife. A path that leads to mingling with the oddball, the grotesque, and the surreal in this weird fiction trucker tale by an author who is certainly no stranger to offering heartbreaking stories, of which Spungunion is above par.

…the other voice continued, each word dipped in honey and drain water, sweet and vile at the same time. Daddy long legs scurried over each syllable.

Boden’s use of tragically poetic prose takes the reader on a gritty and somber—yet somehow romantic—journey as widower Deke Larch sets out to right the wrongs while the narrative sets the tone with passages like:  “Time was just something that shambled and dragged on behind him like so much mummy bandage.”

Bleak indeed.

Deke’s crusade is heart-wrenching and hard to watch, and you’re thankful the entire time that you’re only a bystander and not the bereaving victim. His day-to-day is spent reflecting on the loss of his wife and reveling in the memory of her, even if that means sleeping in the blood-stained mattress she bled out on, until given the opportunity to find the answers he’s looking for from a co-worker who holds the voodoo-esque, shamanistic means to do so should Deke dare to pursue them. And he does. In Deke’s own words: “I know when I find out who did it, the world will have to split in two to hold all the blood that’s coming. All the rage.”

Spungunion was one of the best books I read in 2017, and I’ve read enough Boden now to be excited about what’s coming next. For fans of Lansdale and weird fiction that never strays into bizarro and not too weird to alienate you.

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