After leaving a birthday party at a biker bar, Marty Burns - ex-child actor and occasional supernatural detective - is hit over the head with a frozen turkey leg and unceremoniously wedged into a shopping cart with a dead stripper. What follows is an incredible journey up the dry, concrete bed of the Los Angeles River, past its unusual denizens, to "the Other Side," where Marty must help a madwoman save her true love.
Apocalypse Now, Voyager
casts Bette Davis' character from the film "Now, Voyager" in an inventive re-imagining of "Apocalypse Now." Events progress from the fantastic to the surreal: A run-in with a gang of skateboarding teenagers called The Lost Boys segues into an encounter with the Hondo Hounds - men (and one woman) who have endured surgical alterations to appear more like dogs. Marty, his insane captor Vibiana, and dead Annie keep moving until they reach Yang-Na, City Beneath the City - a portal into a strange realm where the waves of a blood-red sea lap against a breakfast cereal beach.
The story flows at a brisk pace, and not just because it's a short novella: Jay Russell's narrative is a perfect mixture of outrageous events, pop culture references and irreverent witticisms. The slight page count works in the tale's favor, because readers probably wouldn't want to spend an entire novel with such odd and, in many ways, repulsive characters. Still, there's wisdom within the madness: the revelation that "Love is being brave enough to give to someone else the bit of you that you most want to keep for yourself."
Russell is a writer true to his own vision: He admits that most Marty Burns adventures are anything but mainstream - a "dubious commercial strategy." It's true that this book won't appeal to everyone, but for those with the courage to face a wild ride into a surreal and unknown world, Apocalypse Now, Voyager
offers a journey "into the heart of darkness and the darkness of the heart."
Editor's Note: This book is a limited edition, available from the publisher's website.