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On Holiday with Old Scratch- a book review


"Reading No Tears for Old Scratch" copyright 2014 Kristin Fouquet


With his third book, No Tears for Old Scratch, Ken Wohlrob takes us and his protagonist, Biff [*-----------] (surname ungiven and possibly unpronounceable), on a bus ride out of New York City. The destination is Knob's End, given the title *The Holiest Town in America* because of its community effort, "The Graveyard of the Innocent." Outsider Biff immediately raises suspicion in the townsfolk, who want to keep their secrets unearthed. Being a British, fedora-wearing, irreverent, old codger, he cannot help but to attract attention. In stark contrast to Knob's End denizens, readers mostly gravitating to Danielle Steele and The Bible, Biff is erudite. He enjoys insulting them with Shakespearian quotes and even calls a cockroach Gregor.

As a self-proclaimed salesman, he has traveled extensively. Yet presently, he begins to wonder if he is becoming obsolete. Doubt and shades of an identity crisis seem, at first, to have him on a purgatorial journey, but his endless roaming resembles more of a Hell on Earth with no exit. Whenever a resident asks why he is there, Biff replies, "I'm on holiday." Atrocious events occur immediately after he arrives in Knob's End. Even though these heinous acts were not committed by his own hand, the coincidence is undeniable.

Wohlrob has created the perfect despicable character in Biff. He is loathsome in his lack of compassion for humanity. However, his charms are not lost on the reader. I found myself reveling in the loveable bastard’s sense of humor and rallying for him to succeed in exposing the hypocrisy of these righteous people. Biff also does a lot of scratching in this tale. I find this symbolic- not only for the moniker, but for the little flakes of skin, a bit of himself, he distributes wherever he goes. I'm pleased to state he will be with this reader for quite a while.

***

Kristin Fouquet © 2014

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