Katja from the Punk Band by Simon Logan (ChiZine Publications, 2010, 280pp.)
Located on a nameless, drug-infested Eastern Bloc island, this grotesque comedy of errors centers on a chemical vial, and the people who fight to get their hands on it. Word has come down through the grapevine that whoever manages to smuggle themselves onto the mainland and deliver the vial to a mysterious man in red will win their ticket out of poverty. Characters include a misfit punk guitarist, a junkie, a couple of drug lords (one of whom is an S&M performance artist), and a battered wife and her lover who are fleeing her abusive husband. A fast-paced, plot-driven tale from the start, it makes the mistake of relaying multiple character POVs in overlapping layers, so some of the dialogue and action are unnecessarily repeated. Although the characters aren’t psychologically deep, they are quirky and bizarre enough to hold your attention nonetheless. If director Takashi Miike remade It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, it might look something like this.
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