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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tour: IF JACK HAD by Steven Rappaport

REVIEW:  IF JACK HAD by Steven Rappaport

IF JACK HAD is a first-person narrative as told by an aging individual whose life has been one of ongoing, nearly seamless, deception. Born of hideous parents, at age three Jack is shunted to his foul-mouthed father and loving and lovable new stepmother. Growing up, Jack manages the trappings of success and maintenance of the appearance of normality. A respected traveling New York journalist, with a lovely wife and well-brought up children and grandchildren, Jack builds a few friendships and meanwhile hides his true nature (or lack of nature). Jack is a cold-natured sociopathic killer for contract, employed by (of all things) the Russian Mafiya. Jack is very skilled at his second vocation, but eventually, all processes, even success and talent, must meet an end.



“What’s the difference between a serial killer and an assassin?

… A paycheck.”

Jack is a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist with a secret second job. Since he was a smart-ass grad student slinking around New York’s Upper West Side and Brighton Beach, he’s been working as an assassin for the Russian mob.

Beginning at the end – that is, with an aged, incontinent, and at last truly alone Jack, his mind made up that tomorrow will be the first day he kills someone he loves: himself – If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing, June 4 2015] tells his story in rearview, providing an all-access-pass into the enviable, high-flying life he clear-cut for himself against all odds…and the (literal) trail of dead he left along the way.

The debut novel from sixty-eight-year-old Manhattan author Steve Rappaport, If Jack Had is, much like its protagonist, more than meets the eye. A caper comedy featuring sex and drugs, blasphemy and blood, far-flung exotic locales and all the other stuff that makes for good, not-so-clean fun, If Jack Had also happens to have a big, beating heart. Beneath the surface, it’s a meditation on family, fatherhood, the indignities of aging, the inevitability of loneliness, and the preciousness of life itself.

From spending peaceful mornings with Jack in Paris’s Le Marais district to experiencing the hedonism and glamour of Manhattan’s downtown art scene in the 1980s at his side, readers of If Jack Had will be swept up in a world that’s all at once ordinary and extraordinary, where life and death collide with the regularity of a ticking clock, and in which appearances can be every bit as deceiving as the storyteller himself.

Of his inspiration to pen If Jack Had, Rappaport explains simply, “My eldest son, Jack, died at forty from a progressively debilitating, unknown neurological disorder. This brilliant boy, a Vassar grad, never got to live the life he deserved. I’ve infused him with one.”

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