Friday, June 19, 2009

Book Review - Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg

Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg
Derek Swannson
Three Graces Press
616 Pages

If I had to describe this book in two words I’d have to say… Absolutely brilliant!!

Fortunately, I’m not bound nor inclined to short descriptions.

“Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg” is a uniquely engrossing and entertaining read from the first page to the very last word. In the opening scene we meet our hero, the reincarnated, polymath infant Gordon, who guides us through a fantastic journey of mysticism, intrigue, and conspiracy as he strives toward manhood.

With an incredibly intelligent plot, elegant and gripping phrasing, versant nostalgia and a sprinkling of comedy Swannson proves that he has a unique and distinctive voice. This odd but entertaining novel contains familiar elements of Shea and Wilson’s “Illuminatus! Trilogy,” Kerouac’s “On the Road,” Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” and the entire catalog of Hunter S. Thompson. I was wholly entertained by every one of the six-hundred plus pages of this epic coming of age story. Swannson allows us to be our almost forgotten adolescent selves again while we tag along with Gordon and friends on their strange journey into adulthood.

If you like smart, literate, and humorous Conspiracy Theories about secret societies, alien manipulation, Freemasonry, narcolepsy, Templar’s and the occasional psychedelic acid trip (and who doesn’t?) then this book is for you! In my estimation, Derek Swannson has created a true masterpiece that will stand the test of time. He weaves intricately patterned characters and scenes with great skill and while the novel is a trifle lengthy there is not a single wasted or misplaced word.

Being of a certain age I identified completely with the pop-culture, drug-related, Rock ‘n Roll references, socio-political movements, and historical moments identified in the book. I have to admit that I couldn’t help but laugh at the adolescent banter, insults and jokes between Crash and his friends. And the nostalgia… ah… Farrell’s Ice Cream Shop and the infamous Pig Trough, Speedos, Quadraphonic stereos, camping, and hellgrammites for fishing. Swannson may have channeled every teenage boy I ever knew.

I’m told that the sequel, “Crash Gordon and the Revelations From Big Sur” is forthcoming. I, for one, can’t wait! Do your self a favor and purchase Swannson’s “Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg” and his other previously published novel “Nitt-Witt Ridge.” You certainly won’t be disappointed.

Rating: (The very rare) Six out of Five Stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

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