Title: Apocalypse Now Now
Author: Charlie Human
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Synopsis: (Back of book)
Baxter Zevcenko’s life is pretty sweet. He’s making a name for himself as the kingpin of his smut-peddling high-school syndicate, the other gangs are staying out of his business,
and he’s dating the girl of his dreams, Esme.
But when Esme gets kidnapped, things start to get seriously weird, and the only man drunk enough to help is a bearded, booze-soaked, supernatural bounty hunter that goes by the name of Jackson ‘Jackie’ Ronin.
Plunged into the increasingly bizarre landscape of Cape Town’s supernatural underworld, Baxter and Ronin team up to save Esme. On a journey that takes them through the realms of impossibility, they must face every conceivable nightmare to get her back, including the odd brush with the Apocalypse.
Baxter Zevcenko is the leader of the Spiders, a group that run a lucrative porn business within the school grounds as their means of setting themselves apart from the gangs and the runts. Considering the other two gangs, both equally dangerous in their own right, I had to appreciate how well Charlie Human got these two groups right. As a South African, I can imagine the situations that occur in the book and the characters that lead the gangs, actually existing in the real world; and that’s a scary thought.
The first part of the book was quite riveting, as Cape Town comes alive in the eyes of the sarcastic, obviously intelligent, deceptive Baxter Zevcenko. He takes great pleasure in manipulating people and situations in his favour. I mean, how do you start a gang when two very powerful opposing gangs already exist, and manage to have “peaceful relations” with both? Outside of this, he has a soft side that he keeps for his girlfriend Esme, and at the same time a horrible streak aimed at his brother. Baxter is quite a character.
The world building aspect of Apocalypse Now Now is so much richer for me as a South African, understanding the nuances, the cultures, the language and everything, with the supernatural twist that is right up the same alley. Not to mention the colourful Jackie Ronin who is a bounty hunter that Baxter employs, who turns out to be more than what he seems. While Baxter keeps blacking out, and fears of a serial killer sweep through the news, one can only imagine would be going through Baxter’s mind.
The story is paced well and you get a real understanding of who Baxter is, and the conflicts that rise up in his life. The supernatural world is just a small taste of what his future holds and as the story progresses, it becomes obvious that Baxter Zevcenko is not just an ordinary boy.
A great story from a talented local author.
Rating: Cornea inducing 4 out of 5