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Bad Monkeys (2007)

de Matt Ruff

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1,468929,750 (3.61)77
Confessing that she is a member of a secret organization dedicated to assassinating bad guys, murder suspect Jane Charlotte lands in a psychiatric hospital, where she recounts her increasingly bizarre life as a trained killer.
Afegit fa poc perbiblioteca privada, vroni, jollyavis, mhulett, tpflug, Patchshank, WestBranch, Ms.LibraryCat, Ellemir
Biblioteques llegadesLeslie Scalapino
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I picked this one off the charity shelf at work for entirely superficial reasons.

This is [b:Bad Monkey|16071701|Bad Monkey|Carl Hiaasen|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1359148688s/16071701.jpg|21865808] by [a:Carl Hiaasen|8178|Carl Hiaasen|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1208367876p2/8178.jpg].
[bc:Bad Monkey|16071701|Bad Monkey|Carl Hiaasen|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1359148688s/16071701.jpg|21865808]

And this is [b:Bad Monkeys|71845|Bad Monkeys|Matt Ruff|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1300479869s/71845.jpg|69564].
[bc:Bad Monkeys|71845|Bad Monkeys|Matt Ruff|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1300479869s/71845.jpg|69564]

(In the interests of honesty, I must confess that I misremembered the Hiaasen book with a yellow cover, too.)

Also intriguing was the design of the book: It's got a stiff cover, but not a hardcover--not sure what you call that--and it's an unusual size, about 5"x9.5". I had to take it home to study it, if nothing else. Fortunately, the story sounded good, too.

It was okay, though nothing spectacular. I liked it better in the beginning, in the ramp up to learning what the Bad Monkeys were, and in Jane Charlotte's training, than I did later. I hate trotting out meaningless phrases like "It just wasn't believable" for a book like this but, well...

My problem was that the book began so firmly rooted in reality. The only major twist was the NC gun. But the further along I got, the more ridiculous everything became--to the point that it was like reading an action movie. And I have yet to see that done well. I guess I just wanted some working rules to go with. I love surprises, but when the surprises are changes to rules that I didn't know existed in the first place, they're not much fun. [Gosh, suddenly I'm thinking of the Eleventh Doctor.]

I wasn't terribly surprised by the surprise ending, either. Not that that's unusual, but I didn't get much satisfaction out of the big reveal, which I often can.

All that said, it wasn't a bad book. I had fun reading it, and I did like the original direction the story was headed...just not where it ended up.

Quote Roundup

I was in a coma for ten days. I woke up in a darkened hospital room with a television playing somewhere nearby. Tom Cruise was talking about a priest who'd died giving last rites to a fireman at Ground Zero. Then Mariah Carey started singing that we all have a hero inside us, and I thought maybe I'd died, and this was hell. But the show went on, with more celebrities coming out to sing and tell stories, and there were calls for donations, and eventually I realized I wasn't in hell, I was just in America. (60) ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
Short, I read it in one day. I'm still not sure who the ant really was, or what really happened. I really enjoyed this book. It could have gone either way for me the whole time. ( )
  codykh | Jun 28, 2021 |
A really good, fast paced story. There are so many twist and turns, and so many different characters, I had to read this in two days just so I would remember everything ( )
  grandpahobo | Apr 28, 2021 |
Idea bellissima, svolgimento non all'altezza. Peccato, perchè avevo molta fiducia in Matt Ruff e nelle sue capacità... Ma si sa: anche Omero, a volte, si addormenta.Il libro è comunque buono, ma decisamente inferiore agli altri dello stesso autore.
( )
  JoeProtagoras | Jan 28, 2021 |
Having just (re-)read Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country (in preparation for the HBO series) I decided to dip into his back catalog and read another one. Unfortunately, this one isn't as good. On the plus side, I will say it's an interesting story. Bad girl gets recruited into a super secret organization dedicated to ferreting out "evil" in the world. Basically she is given an opportunity to turn her life around and do good for a change. The organization is cleverly designed. Ruff clearly put a lot of thought into it. I think it, by itself, could warrant a completely separate novel. I mean, there's just a ton of detail in there that could almost effortlessly be fleshed out into something much larger and grander than this. And the girl, our protagonist, Jane Charlotte (the loneliest Brontë), certainly had an interesting life. So the story was off to a good start.

But I had two big problems. One was the way in which it was told. Every other chapter took place in a "white room" and was told in the third person where a man is interrogating Jane. In response, Jane starts to tell her life story. Between those, the odd chapters are Jane's story, told in the first person, but interspersed in those chapters are questions the interrogator asks her, mid-story, mid-stream, only indicated as such by italics. As a literary device, I found this to be cheating. Not only is he breaking the first person structure by including a third person in there (which might actually be clever by itself, if not for...) he also breaks the "show don't tell" rule many times by conveniently having this italicized interloper ask leading questions. Ultimately, I thought it was a literary experiment that should have been removed from the final version of the book. Kudos for trying. But points lost for not realizing it cheapened the writing overall.

Second big problem, and here we get into some serious "this will ruin the ending" spoilers, so I'll hide this one. The double twist at the end annoyed me. The first twist was clever enough. Okay, so the interrogator turns out to be her presumed dead brother. Cool. I mean I kind of saw it coming, couldn't have been 100% sure, but it meshed with the vibe I was getting, so that was fun. But to have that last twist reveal that Jane was actually working for the evil enemy, a double agent, was just dumb. It invalidated everything I'd just read. If you're going to have me root for a protagonist the entire novel only to reveal she was the antagonist all along, at least do it for a better reason than: "double twist at the end!" Some people might have liked it, but this didn't work for me at all.

Ultimately, there was enough I liked about this book to give it 3/5 stars, and this combined with Lovecraft Country will certainly get me to seek out more of Ruff's writing in the future. But if you're looking for one of his books to try, don't start with this one. That's my advice. ( )
  invisiblelizard | Sep 6, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Matt Ruffautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Staehle,WillDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Taff, Emily CavettDissenyadorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Confessing that she is a member of a secret organization dedicated to assassinating bad guys, murder suspect Jane Charlotte lands in a psychiatric hospital, where she recounts her increasingly bizarre life as a trained killer.

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