Criterium by Tyler Jones
Ok. First off, I loved this. I loved the concept, I loved the presentation, I found Tyler’s voice flawless, this hit all my buttons. Intelligently written, layered meaning, underlying social commentary, this is exactly the type of writing I want to read more of. The type of book to read on holiday and feel bereft when it’s over because you are never going to read it for the first time again. It’s that good. With a stunning cover from David Mack, this is the whole deal.
This is definitely in my top 5 reads from this year.
So, let’s have a closer look at the craft and the reasons why this resonated with me. Firstly, the story revolves around addiction. Seen through metaphor, Jones’s possessed bike becomes addiction itself, how it can grab hold of anyone foolish enough to attempt to tame it, and destroy them, piece by piece. How it destroys families, how that addiction passes on through to the children until it becomes an integral part of their very structure. Jones spent long enough in the opening section to showcase a destroyed father, his addiction, its utter devastation on the family unit. Now, of course, this novel might simply be about a possessed bike that kills anyone that rides it, but honestly, as written here, that also works.
The characters are so richly delivered, each perfectly rendered, they are real, fully fleshed, and a part of our world within only a few chapters. Zach and his sister and his mother, and Thayer, whom we only really discover at the close, are as near as you can get to perfect. Seriously magical that we can feel as deeply for them in the limited space each takes in the novel as a whole. Comparisons would have me say that this has the character resonation of Laurel Hightowers’ work, The emotional depth of Gemma Amor’s, but Tyler’s bringing metaphor and social commentary as his own distinct flair, and – well – it’s stunning. It left me frustrated I couldn’t talk about it with anyone – I don’t know of anyone yet that has read it, but I aim to amend that, this is definitely going to be one of the books I give as presents this year.
Tyler, this is a phenomenal debut. My hat off to you, sir. You have a fan.
5 out of 5 ⭐’s
You can visit Tyler's Website, HERE.
You can buy Criterium (American Amazon), HERE.
You can find Tyler on Twitter, HERE.
You can find Tyler on Facebook, HERE.
You can find Tyler on Instagram, HERE.