“…a science-fiction ‘Catcher in the Rye'”

The New York Times, giving me my birthday present two weeks early, has posted its review of Bad Monkeys:

“Bad Monkeys” is something of a science-fiction “Catcher in the Rye.” The protagonist, Jane Charlotte, tells her life story to a psychiatrist. She cracks wise and doesn’t quite fit into society, and the heart of her story is, seemingly, about a tragic younger brother. She’s a female Holden Caulfield, except she kills criminals with the equivalent of a ray gun.

Along with the Salingeresque details, Ruff has animated “Bad Monkeys” with the spirit of Philip K. Dick, and he’s borrowed a little seasoning from Jim Thompson and Thomas Pynchon. The ray gun is, naturally, pure Dick, and the fact that you root for Jane even though it becomes clear she’s a sociopath is a classic Thompson touch. (See “The Killer Inside Me” and “Savage Night.”) And I felt Pynchon-like flourishes out of “The Crying of Lot 49” in Ruff’s elaborately conceived secret societies. The real debt is to Dick, though, in the way Ruff expertly plays with notions of what is real and what is illusion.

“Bad Monkeys,” allusions aside, is highly entertaining. It moves fast and keeps surprising you. There are also some exciting and hallucinatory action sequences that are so skillfully written I felt as if I was watching the first “Matrix” movie, which I unabashedly loved…

The full review is here.

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