Hello! This is my first blog tour with Damppebbles Blog Tours. Many thanks to Emma for the opportunity!
I am going to share my thoughts on Captain Clive’s Dreamworld by Jon Bassoff.
First, about the book:
After becoming the suspect in the death of a young woman, Deputy Sam Hardy is reassigned to the town of Angels and Hope, which, within its borders, holds the once magnificent amusement park, Captain Clive’s Dreamworld. When he arrives, however, Hardy notices some strange happenings. The park is essentially empty of customers. None of the townsfolk ever seem to sleep. And girls seem to be going missing with no plausible explanation. As Hardy begins investigating, his own past is drawn into question by the town, and he finds himself becoming more and more isolated. The truth—about the town and himself—will lead him to understand that there’s no such thing as a clean escape.
Captain Clive’s Dreamworld is a dark and unsettling story isn’t for everyone, even though it’s written brilliantly. The disturbing twist at the end caught me unawares and still has my head spinning.
I think there should be some trigger warnings, but it might take away the shock factor.
The too-perfect town of Angels and Hope is hiding a disgusting secret, and the townsfolk are party to it. Deputy Hardy tries his best to expose their secret, but is held back by his own past. The way the town operates reminds me of a certain hermit country, minus the sexual depravity.
Deputy Hardy says, at one point, that the town is besieged by collective amnesia and collective guilt. I would add collective madness to the mix.
The story is the stuff of nightmares. Everything has a surreal, dreamy quality–but it’s really happening. The wordplay around dreams–the dream town of Captain Clive, the realization of his vision–is a continuous thread through the book, keeping it together.
“This is Captain Clive’s Dreamworld. Where a new dream is only a moment away.”
“…he wondered if the last several hours had just been a fever dream, whether anybody had really been there at all.”
“Dreams like butterflies..”
“The true dreamers are inside. The rest will be here eventually.”
There’s a clever attempt to explain the groupthink of the town as “Collective Tribal Prosopagnosia” in a classroom scene, but, in my opinion, it’s a flimsy excuse.
The townsfolk have descended to their basest nature and are doing what they can to survive.
“This was a town of myths, a town of idyllic order, a town that had been manufactured to illicit nostalgia for a time that never was.”
Brilliant, evocative book with crime and horror elements that keep you asking for more. I can’t believe I enjoyed the perversity of the story so much. It felt satisfying to read about the disgust, the filth, the hopelessness, and the overwhelming sadness of it all.
Bassoff’s storytelling has affected me powerfully, and I know I’ll be thinking about it for quite some time.
(I received an e-ARC from Damppebbles Blog Tours with a request for an honest review.)
About Jon Bassoff
Jon Bassoff was born in 1974 in New York City and currently lives with his family in a ghost town somewhere in Colorado. His mountain gothic novel, Corrosion, has been translated in French and German and was nominated for the Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere, France’s biggest crime fiction award. Two of his novels, The Drive-Thru Crematorium and The Disassembled Man, have been adapted for the big screen with Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild; Once Upon a Time in America) attached to star in The Disassembled Man. For his day job, Bassoff teaches high school English where he is known by students and faculty alike as the deranged writer guy. He is a connoisseur of tequila, hot sauces, psychobilly music, and flea-bag motels.