My first Gallion Picks Review of 2018 comes to you by way of Australia. Blair Denholm has created a dark and at the same time, comedic, tale. His protagonist, Gray Braswell, is not your typical hero. He's a used car salesman, with a variety of addictions, gambling amongst them. He never says no, to liquor, to drugs, to gambling. His refusal to deny himself any "pleasure" lands him and his long-suffering wife, Maddie, in dire straights. He has borrowed money from Jocko MacKenzie, a loan shark, and when MacKenzie comes calling, with threats, Gary struggles to repay the loan. Even when he has repaid the debt, MacKenzie still expects more, and the story takes off. It is action packed and fast paced.
Gary changes jobs from car salesman to a real estate agent, looking for a bigger payout. He's a natural salesman, fast taking, and quick thinking, and soon he has some solid prospects. Unfortunately for Gary, who is nearly always functioning at some level of inebriation, he becomes embroiled in an even more deadly game with overseas investors looking for a money laundering opportunity. It's out of the frying pan and into the fire for Gary. The pit he digs just gets deeper and steeper, and he just keeps digging.
Sold is a fantastic romp. I thoroughly enjoyed the vernacular and the Aussie slang. Denholm's writing style is immensely readable, full of dark humor and crass undertones. Denholm looks in the seediest corners of the human soul and paints what he finds in vivid detail, unapologetically. I loved that Gary was such a sot, that he was so unwilling to stop the insanity. Throughout, he is a person who gives in entirely to desire with very little concern for the consequences, which is immensely irritating. I cannot tell you how many times Gary annoyed me. But he was also very charming. It's not often you find a hero so flagrantly unpleasant. I quite liked Gary Braswell, even as flawed as a human could be, he was entertaining.
Denholm is a master storyteller. Sold was a romp, easy to read, and enjoy. There are cautionary tales here, but Denholm seems infinitely unconcerned with whether his readers take them to heart. I'm pretty happy (maybe not the right word) that he ended this novel with an opening for more because there has to be more. I'm already looking forward to
the next book of the Gary Braswell Cluster----well, you know.