Young hipsters deploy irony and a nail gun to battle a cruel world in this lurid romance-thriller.
Dreading a future of corporate conformity, 20-something Seth tries to build a career as an impresario of themed raves. All goes swimmingly until dead bodies start appearing at the dance parties–the handiwork of Norah, a coed who wants to start her own line of â€œPhuck N’ Kill Cosmetics,” and who moonlights as Hot Pink, a vigilante serial killer of sex offenders whose names she worms out of distraught victims calling a rape hotline. Smitten, Seth mans the phone lines, but it turns out that offing scumbags is a crowded field. Soon Seth and Norah run afoul of Harley Carmichael, a white hit-man with gangsta-rapper affectations–he spouts hip-hop patois and sports gold-plated teeth inscribed with the word â€œbitch”–who specializes in contract killings of rapists. DeMicoli uses this gonzo scenario as a backdrop to what ravers undoubtedly see as the great social problem of our time–the corporate takeover of dissident youth culture. â€œPunk rock used to mean something,” Seth muses. â€œNow it’s a hairdo, a piercing in a weird spot.” But the novel’s more telling theme is the crisis of post-modern masculinity. Seth is a feckless young man, marginalized in a world where women’s knack for erotic display–his previous girlfriend was a porn-site hottie–dominates a spectacle-driven economy, while their militancy renders protective manliness obsolete. Masculinity has degenerated to pure predation (rape), and Seth’s only vestigial role is to impotently pledge allegiance to women’s righteous violence. The preoccupations of the novel’s disaffected, self-loathing youngsters are a bit trite, but Lick Me is an entertaining read. The characters, though cartoonish, are vividly observed, and the author’s vigorous prose mixes pulp with poetry in a sharp vernacular.
A promising debut from a talented writer.