Jack Fell Down by Kenneth Underhill: Jack Stabbish is a salesman who realized one day that he could make money without actually selling anything. He “works” for four companies at a time, riding on charisma alone and quitting before anyone notices he hasn’t actually done anything. At the start of our tale, one of Jack’s former employers is looking into legal action against him, another is facing a major meltdown due to Jack’s neglect, and his bank is looking askance at his four weekly paychecks. The story deals largely with the impact of Jack’s (in)actions on an assortment of reasonably believable characters, with all subplots tying together in the end. (Well, save the one about Janice. That one didn’t serve any purpose.) Jack is a bit of an anti-hero, beloved by all but generally self-centered and conniving. I spent much of the book hoping he’d get his comeuppance, but I didn’t feel any real animosity toward him, and in the end he came off as more genuine than I’d expected. The ending, though somewhat anti-climatic, was surprisingly satisfying. Usually I don’t appreciate that sort of technique for finishing a story, but it worked in this instance. The writing was decently down-to-earth except during the sex scenes, when awkward and flowery metaphors sprouted all over the page as soon as the clothes came off. It amused me. All in all, a good first novel. I’ll be curious to see what Underhill does next – whether he continues to draw on his experiences as a salesman or branches out to something completely different.
Also posted on BookCrossing.