ARC Review: Sucktown, Alaska

Sucktown, AlaskaSucktown, Alaska by Craig Dirkes
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Release date: May 1, 2017

Looking for a great adventure, eighteen-year-old Eddie Ashford stumbles into a job as a reporter in tiny Kusko, Alaska, a place so remote that bush planes are the only way in or out. When the job and the place, which sits on the flat and desolate tundra and not in the stunning mountains he’d imagined, turn out to be disappointments, Eddie thinks maybe it’s time to bail. But three things tie him there: 1) Taylor, a girl who might be a little too pretty and a little too smart for him; 2) Finn, a new friend who is an all-around good dude but also happens to be a small-time pot dealer; and 3) Eddie’s empty wallet, which means he can’t afford to transport himself and his possessions back to civilization. Despite every good-guy instinct inside him, Eddie flirts with trouble as he tries to find a way home.

Short version – Yikes!

If you ever wanted to read a coming-of-age story from the eyes of a college bro-dude this is the book you can go for. Eddie flunks out, gets a job being a reporter in a rural nowhere of Alaska, and gets bored. To get back though, he needs money and so he does what a typical white 20-something would first think of – sell pot to augment his cashflow. Naturally, he gets into trouble and learns a lesson and all that. The message is clear – do no harm, do good things for society and all that. The only problem is the package in which this message is being delivered, which is not all that fresh.

A novel protagonist for this genre, Eddie is a typical horny guy who has only two switches – boredom over the lackluster town he is in, and efforts to get into the local hot girl(Taylor)’s tight pants. He literally only goes after her because she is hot and ‘exotic’ (multiracial for civilized folks) and while she wants to just be friends, he is determined. The way he views her as an object made it pretty obvious this book was written by a man (I actually never check a new author’s identity just before starting a book) – and I was particularly irked with the term ‘denied’ used instead of ‘rejected’. Let me tell you why it bothers me so – denied implies he felt he was owed her attention, while rejected means she turned him down. Which, to be honest, considering his lying and entitled self, she was right in doing at the start. He is creepy at least, and skeevy at most – even when he is her ‘friend’ he doesn’t stop his borderline sleazy attitude towards her.

And then comes the plot which is pretty predictable and boring. Honestly, the only interesting tidbits were the articles he was writing for the newspaper; his day to day life and the transitions from scene to scene were monotonous and choppy, respectively. He has a great opportunity to change his life around, and doesn’t realize until the very end. Even then, he is spared most of his consequences because he had done one good thing in the duration of the novel. Overall, the message is in the right place, but this is not a narrator you would like to read through.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Switch Press, via Netgalley.

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