The Incurables - Jon Bassoff

Reading The Incurables is akin to being on the set of a wild west frontier town production movie possibly under the direction of one of the greatest directors of all times, John Ford and starring two of his favourite protagonists John Wayne and Victory McLaglen....”She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” comes to mind. Now if we add to this the language and character interplay in a Quentin Tarantino production such as Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta discussing the finer parts of a quarter pounder...”Do you know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Paris? They call it Royale with cheese”....then perhaps you have some idea just how just how colourful and direct this character driven novel by Jon Bassoff is.

Doctor Walter Freeman offers hope to the ill and insane with his transorbitol lobotomy and he should know as he has performed over 3000 successful operations. When however he is sacked from his job at the hospital and he travels to the town of Burnwood “a debauchery-filled meatpacking town with plenty of history but not much future.” with his faithful companion Edgar (himself a recipient of transorbitol lobotomy) his patience and his faith in his ability will be sorely tested.

In this Oklahoma backwater he meets an assortment of odd, demented and violent cast of characters; Durango the next Messiah driven by his god fearing father Stanton...”Stanton had made prophecies before and none of them had come true. But Durango couldn’t help but believe, just a little bit. Not because he thought him to be a prophet, but because he was his father.” Scent the local working girl “Scent and the fat man drove in his badly rusted, badly dented Ford truck toward the Lullaby Motel over on Front Street. His calloused hands rode up and down her leg and she didn’t try to stop him. The radio played static-filled doo-wop. And out on the streets a heaping of destitution and debauchery.”.....Grady, Vlad and Kaz murdering psychopathic brothers out for revenge, and all this set against a town captivated by the charismatic salesmanship of Dr Freeman.

Jon Bassoff creates characters that “crackle” with electricity they can almost be viewed in 3d as their bawdy and colourful temperaments consume the reader from the opening paragraph. His directness and style in many respects reminds me of the writing of Donald Ray Pollock (The Devil All The Time) I shall look forward to reading future publications by Mr Bassoff as I know his best work is still to be written.