Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Christopher Goffard's "Snitch Jacket"

Christopher Goffard is a general assignment reporter at the Los Angeles Times. His first book is the literary crime novel, Snitch Jacket.

Goffard applied the "Page 99 Test" to Snitch Jacket and reported the following:
On Pg. 99 of Snitch Jacket, Gus “Mad Dog” Miller, the magnetic ex-con, is offering some of his deranged theories of life to our hero and narrator, police informer Benny Bunt. Miller explains that two of his greatest heroes are Nietzsche and Jesus Christ – both great Outlaws, in his view, which is how he likes to think of himself, how he adds a mythic burnish to his lonely and feckless life on the fringes. Benny is beginning to understand the fraudulent clutter of Miller’s character, that his notions of Manhood and Cool are cobbled together from half-read books and misunderstood conversations and a thousand other random sources. The scene goes to the heart of one of the novel’s major themes, which is the improvisational and patchwork nature of identity. In the book’s isolated and godless milieu, where the characters grope in the darkness for heroes, any heroes, to emulate, Miller’s reverence for the German philosopher and the Nazarene, spurious as his understanding is, parallels Benny’s hero-worship of Miller himself, of Detective Munoz, of countless TV cops and comic-book characters from whom he’s borrowed his own codes of manhood. So Page 99 gives a glimpse of the psychosis Miller and Benny share, of the basic dynamic that leads to the book’s tragedy.
Snitch Jacket will be released in the U.S. later this year.

--Marshal Zeringue