Set in present-day Los Angeles, Junk explores an epic conspiracy, one at work for thousands of years that involves total takeover of the planet Earth by aliens. In the wild, souped-up vision of Les Bohem – the acclaimed, Emmy-winning writer of the Steven Spielberg miniseries, Taken – the world is at the end stage of long-range plot that involves a gigantic genetic-engineering project. The aliens who have invaded us have no planet. No spaceship is coming. Instead, a small advance force comes, breeds, and dies – thus becoming an anomaly in our DNA that can’t be explained. In Junk, seers for centuries have had visions that turned out to be messages from our alien DNA. The time for the takeover is now. The aliens are ready, and they are starting to bloom.
Junk by Les Bohem. Narrated by John Waters. Run time is 10 hours and 37 mins. Published by Audible Studios, Febuary 2019. Possible triggers: Strong language, sexual situations.
This book has a great premise. I love the whole alien DNA, witchcraft, Illuminati themes going on in the story. Lots of fun stuff to play with! I also am a big fan of the anti-hero broken detective type characters. The story has a great modern day noir grittiness to it. Very hard-boiled sci-fi vibe. That is pretty big thumbs up for me.
The story starts off really well. Lots of WTF (in a good way), lots of crazy shit hitting the fan, and very interesting and creative plot building going on. Very fast paced. I flew through those hours, soaking up the story. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next! And such a fun twist to an alien invasion. Really enjoyed the first half of the book. I feel like that part of Junk would make a very fun sci-fi movie.
Then we get to the second half of the book and the wheels fall off. D:
First off, by this point in the book we have gathered up a LOT of different characters and multiple POVs in the story… and then the author just keeps adding more and more characters! Way too many, dude! Way. Too. Many. It was a real struggle keeping up with who was who and what POV we were even on. When there was only an hour left to the story, guess what happened? EVEN MORE FLIPPING CHARACTERS ARE ADDED!! Seriously, WTF man?!
Second of all, part 2 of the story felt way too long and drawn out. It felt like this would have been a better pill to swallow if it had been broken up into two books instead of one, maybe? I’m not sure… but it just felt very long winded. Maybe because it felt like not a lot of headway being made, yet it just kept going and going? Sometimes it just got down right convoluted as to what was even going on anymore! With too many characters to keep up with, the long drawn out plot just wasn’t working for me. Too much to keep straight in my tiny monkey brain, ok?
The next problem is that all that glorious fast pacing from the start of the book… is just gone. The book slows down to an absolute CRAWL. Don’t get me wrong. A slow burn plot can be super epic AF if it is done right. With all that quick pacing in the first half of the book, to all of a sudden basically go to a snails pace in the second half just didn’t feel right. It broke up the flow and made it feel like it was dragging too much. I feels like having the first part of the book be super fast actiony and then the second part of the book being very slow is kinda maybe the opposite of what you’d want in your book? Like, I always assumed you want your slow pacing in front so you can ramp up to a high climax at the end of the book… right? *Sigh* You shouldn’t go from super fast to what feels like a dead stop. It just left me feeling like I’m in the ocean. In a row boat. And I just lost both of the oars. -.- It was kinda hard to motivate myself to finish this book. D:
So now that the ugly part of the review is out of the way… let me say a few things about the narrator. It’s John Freaking Waters. So that right there is more then enough for a lot of people to pick up Junk. I know it was a big plus for me.
Now, the thing is…. you are either going to LOVE his performance or HATE his performance. I don’t know how many people will feel neutral about it (my gut says not a lot!). He is John Waters and he reads it like, well… John Waters. He doesn’t do accents, gender, age, and or cadence variations at all. He is just John Waters the whole time. So with so many characters, this sort of straight shooting performance does help make the already convoluted story go the extra mile out of it’s way to be even more confusing. Sometimes it took me a few mins to figure out exactly who all was speaking in some conversations. Most of the time I could eventually figure it out.
Honestly, I kinda feel like maybe only a fan of John Waters would really like this audiobook. For people who don’t know who he is or don’t like him, I think his style might be very bothersome for you? He is definitely an acquired taste.
Here is what I loved about John Waters’ performance, though… He is absolutely PERFECT for the main character. The detective character of Junk is basically defeated by life. His job is going nowhere, his marriage is over. His kids hate him. Down and out sort of investigator. John is the perfect voice for that sort of broken character and he is truly a voice for a modern noir hard-boil feel. So while Waters may not be the best audiobook narrator ever, and certainly has a few flaws with his deliveries, he nails the voice of the detective. And for that, I can over look everything else with his performance. 🙂
I really, really wanted to like this book more. I honestly think this book could have been much more tolerable split into two books or at least use a lot more trimming up in that second half of the book. The premise is awesome. The first half of the book is entertaining. Sadly it gets too complicated with a lot of characters, inconsistent pacing / flow, and a story that just doesn’t know when to stop going.