What IS the Beast of Barcroft? That is a very good question. And as you continue reading the story, the answer my surprise you. Ben's fiance dumped him for being an angry nutcase and that he lived next door to a house that is so rat infested, it should've been condemened long ago. All of the surrounding neighbors file complaints left and right, but to no avail. The crazy lady that lives there always seems to skate by with a slap on the wrist. When the lady dies, the dilapitated house is tied up in legal red tape and continues to draw vermin. While out one night walking Bucky, a cougar attacks them and kills Ben's dog. How in the hell is there a cougar in Bancroft, a suburb of Arlington? Is the infested house next door drawing in the wild beast? What can Ben do about any of this?
For me, I thought the Beast of Barcroft was going to be one of these paint-by-the-numbers suburban horror stories without any substance and an annoying lead character that was hard to have any sympathy for. He stops taking his happy pills and then mopes about while bad things keep happening in his life. And then, Schweigart does something really clever with his characters - they ridicule Ben's missteps and it creates this kind of anti-hero main character filled with flaws. No you can't feel too sorry for Ben because of all the stupid things he does and thats exactly how Schweigart wants it. Things really kick into high gear around the half way mark in the book and you'll be flipping through the pages at light speed. The dialogue is witty and clever with shades of Quentin Tarantino and I found myself really enjoying the story. Schweigart's writing flows easily and its easy to see how he got picked up by a large publisher like Random House.
4 1/2 bloody greyhound carcasses out of 5
*** I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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