• Kurt Dinan

Book Review: Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin

One day in the near future, I’m going to run into Lance Rubin at a conference or convention or, who knows, a prison yard, and when I see him, I’m going to punch him right in his handsome face.

Like this:

But why, Kurt? Why the ugliness? You’re known worldwide as a peace-loving, violence-eschewing (vocab word!), kindhearted gentleman. What could possibly lead you to such a terrible act of aggression?

Because I just finished Rubin’s debut novel DENTON LITTLE’S DEATHDATE, that’s why, and it’s so good I want to punch him. I mean, seriously, I dream of a day I can pitch a novel as easily as Rubin can pitch DLDD. Watch:

In the near future everyone knows the exact date they will die. For Denton, that is two days away–the day of his senior prom.

And that, right there, is what every writer wants–a log line that pretty. And not just that, but a longline that delivers. Because DLDD is excellent. The whole novel is excellent–it’s funny, heartfelt, imaginative, and manic. Yes, manic. I could see someone coming up with a premise like this and going all maudlin, cueing up The Smiths or Joy Division and emoting away for three hundred pages. Thank god Rubin doesn’t go out that route. Instead, he’s written what I see as a combination of two of my favorite novels: Chris Crutcher’s DEADLINE and Larry Doyle’s I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER. DLDD has a balls-out, get-shit-off-your-chest funeral, sex, gun play, drugs, car wrecks, and Bone Thugz-n-Harmony. What else do you want out of a novel? Oh, you also want mystery, vomiting, and fedoras? Good, because DLDD has those, too.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the cover, either. Cripes.

So yes, I will punch Lance Rubin. And no jury will convict me of it either. Hell, go read the book, too, and we’ll kick his ass together. And make t-shirts that say, “I punched Lance Rubin!” But read the book first. Seriously, it’s fantastic.

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