Verdict: RED_BANG is a vigorous and energetic farce that makes fun of everything it touches, from Seattle's weather to pretentious Hollywood name spellings to the elaborate stage sets of Vegas conventions, with gleeful abandon. For best results, take it with a cup of strong Seattle coffee - or several.
Adam Murphy has finally managed to break into the screenplay industry – but his own stubbornness regarding proposed changes to his script, and his wife’s loss of a job, mean that he has to find something more lucrative, and fast. So he applies for a job at The Company, a tech giant in Seattle with great benefits, a quirky atmosphere, and the chance to achieve greatness – he hopes. He finds himself mentored by one of the Company’s oldest employees, Simon Davis,and has a chance to get his big break at last – but there are others, including an old friend, out to sabotage every move he makes, and he is drawn into increasingly disturbing, even potentially criminal, behavior to combat them. Can he regain his soul without impoverishing his family?
RED_BANG – the title refers to the red exclamation points that mark nearly every Company email as “urgent!” – is a lively, funny, energetic novel which never, ever drags. Adam and his wife Jess are an appealing couple, even when Jess’s frustration at being a stay-at-home Mom and Adam’s growing obsession with “winning” his career battle leave them at their worst. The action never stops, and the mischievously farcical humor brightens the book throughout. Even the farce, though, has its own internal logic, and characters always have clear reasons for what they do, even when they’re clearly behaving like candidates for the asylum. The resolution has real warmth and a solid moral heart, along with the amusement value.
While the satire is pointed and sharp, it is also a trifle overblown, as if Monroe felt the need to make every single sentence, no matter how trivial, a laugh line. The action and the humor can both become so frenetic as to be more exhausting than funny in places. Minor characters can be a bit one-dimensional and stereotyped – though the stereotypes are applied generally in an exaggeratedly humorous way, and always in service to the book’s larger point, they can occasionally become tiresomely predictable.
RED_BANG is a vigorous and energetic farce that makes fun of everything it touches, from Seattle’s weather to pretentious Hollywood name spellings to the elaborate stage sets of Vegas conventions, with gleeful abandon. For best results, take it with a cup of strong Seattle coffee – or several.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader