Judith D Collins
Jack of Spades
A Tale of Suspense
By: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Publication Date: 5/5/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
From one of the most inimitable writers of our generation, Jack of Spades is an exquisite, psychologically complex thriller about the opposing forces within the mind of one ambitious writer, and the line between genius and madness. Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies in nearly thirty countries, and he has a top agent and publisher in New York. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he writes another string of novels—dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic.
These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn’t be seen reading, let alone writing. Until one day, his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat—and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts.
A special thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. JACK OF SPADES by Joyce Carol Oates, a psychological noir novel . . . A tour de force, a mystery writer slowly becomes immersed in his dark alter ego, blurring the lines of fiction and reality, with a chilling tale of a crime novelist and murderer– Andrew J. Rush. Andrew J. Rush has been a bestselling mystery-suspense writer with over 28 novels under his belt in the theme of Stephen King. However, behind the happily married man with three grown children, and author--he hides behind the facade of Jack of Spades, by writing disturbing, dark, and violet novels under a pseudonym (with different publishers than his normal mystery thrillers). Of course, he would not be seen reading such crap in public. When he is accused of plagiarism, his dark side starts to emerge. No one even his family has a clue about his secret life. Until his daughter Julia finds a copy of one of his books in his office and decides to read it. When the lawsuit hits, a woman is claiming he has copied her ideas and stole her work. Could his entire world come crumbling down and could he lose it all? Let the evil begin. Jack of Spades wants revenge and quickly gets into his dark and chilling character. A dazzling psychological thriller; a short read to make you second guess personalities of dark violent thrillers. . . From a master storyteller, Oates delivers a complex yet quirky and fun portrayal of an author’s life with a thin line between genius and madness.
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About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American author. Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published over forty novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. She has won many awards for her writing, including the National Book Award, for her novel them (1969), two O. Henry Awards, and the National Humanities Medal. Her novels Black Water (1992), What I Lived For (1994), and Blonde (2000) were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Oates has taught at Princeton University since 1978 and is currently the Roger S. Berlind '52 Professor in the Humanities with the Program in Creative Writing. Read More