Black Mad Wheel – a book review

Black Mad Wheel, a book by Josh Malerman, saved me from another novel that I just didn’t have the heart to finish, and for that, I thank you, Josh. This was a book that I couldn’t put down. I stayed up too late at night working my way through it after work, putting my youngest to bed, and cleaning up after dinner. Full marks for suspense, Josh.

The main character’s journey throughout the book is equal parts believable, endearing, and frightful, right up to the very end. A full cast of solid supporting characters round out the crew of this ride through the desert. The plot is unique, and the setting in post world-war two made for an added dash of interest.

Alas, I could not give it a 5 star review. On one review site, which shall remain nameless, I gave this book a four-star rating. Truthfully, it really pulls in at a 3.5 in my view, but I didn’t have the heart to give it a 3. After all, Josh did save me from the agony of finishing another less-well written tome. The book deserves an extra .5 for that alone.

The aforementioned not withstanding (how’s that for an archaic cliché?), there were frequent passages of the book that were a bit too ambiguous. Even now that I know how the story ends, those passages remain something like the tangential musings of a professor who starts a story in class which he never finishes, then moves on to teach you what you came to learn. Please, Josh, don’t over-use this technique in your next novel. Unexplained ambiguities aside, it was worth the read in my book, and I’ll probably be back for seconds from Josh.

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