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Jack of Spades: A Tale of Suspense by Joyce…
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Jack of Spades: A Tale of Suspense (2015)

by Joyce Carol Oates

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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
I was the first to check this book out from my library when it was released. :) This book was really promising. I thought the plot was very interesting. It was obvious pretty early on that the guy was a psycho. The ending was a total cop-out, in my opinion. I didn't feel that the author did a good job of explaining how or why the guy was a psycho. Yes, there was the incident with his brother, but I think it was obvious that that was the result of the guy being crazy, not the cause. I was really waiting for some big, intense scene where it all made sense, but nope. Oates took the easiest way out there is. Not impressed. I had read one of her books several years ago, and didn't love it, but decided to give her another chance because this sounded really good. It really could have been; the ending just fell way short. ( )
  Aseleener | Mar 24, 2018 |
Andrew Rush is a successful mystery writer who writes a noir series of books under the pseudonym Jack of Spades. The persona of Jack of Spades takes over Rush's persona and he descends into madness. Great job by the reader. ( )
  velopunk | Nov 29, 2017 |
This book is good stuff. It's strikingly visceral with proficient use of the first person narrator. I kept flipping back through, as unsure as the narrator of what came before.

And like with all of my favorite horror stories, this one touches on deeper issues, like how one's image of oneself matches (or doesn't) what others see, and the centuries-old way in which women's support and wisdom have, directly and indirectly, made possible the successes of mankind while at the same time the women themselves are kept hidden, walled-up behind duty and claims of psychological and physical deficiency stemming from biology. Like, why did I not know until this month that Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins was the architect of the New Deal? My spouse was incredulous when I told him. "But that's the primary thing FDR is known for," he said, as though that's an argument that refutes the claim that a woman was actually behind the plan.

New Deal notwithstanding, this was an excellent novel. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jun 20, 2017 |
Jack of Spades is an interesting change of pace (yet again) for Joyce Carol Oates. While this is not one of my favorites of hers I still found the writing to be effective and the story to be dark and compelling.

Dark is probably the word that best sums up this short novel. Unlike some readers I can find a book enjoyable when I find the main character unlikable. I had to mention that since many seem to judge a book by whether they find the protagonist likeable or not. Make no mistake, if you find the main character here likeable you may need help.

While the story is fast-paced it is still like watching a horrific accident and being unable to turn away as it seems to slow down. Watching the out of control spiral that is Andrew J. Rush's life is unnerving but still hard to turn away.

This might be one of Oates' novels that won't please all of her readers, though many will enjoy reading as she once again skips from genre to genre. Fans of psychological suspense will enjoy this as well.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  pomo58 | Aug 9, 2016 |
Jack of Spades by Joyce Carol Oates is a very highly recommended psychological thriller that also pays homage to Stephen King.

Andrew J. Rush is a mainstream mystery writer who has published 28 books and was even dubbed "the gentleman's Stephen King" in one review. Andrew is successful, pompous, and egotistical, but likes to think of himself (and he likes to think of himself a lot) as a humble, mild mannered family man. He has been happily married for years and has three grown children. However, unknown to everyone, he is also writing decidedly different novels under the pseudonym Jack of Spades. His Jack of Spades novels are violent, dark, and disturbing. He has a secret room in his house where he keeps these novels. He even writes them on a different desk in his study.

When Andrew is accused of plagiarism by a local woman his carefully separated, murderous Jack of Spades alter ego begins to push to the forefront. C. W. Haider is a local woman who claims he physically stole his novels from her. She is very litigious. He's not the first author she has sued for the same thing, including Stephen King and John Updike. At the same time Andrew's adult daughter finds one of his Jack of Spades novels in his study and decides to read it. She thinks this "friend" of her father who writes the horrible books is stealing ideas/events from their family's lives. And his wife may be having an affair.

As these events collide and suspicions begin to plague Andrew, his carefully ordered and compartmentalized mind begins to crack. His alter ego, the vicious Jack of Spades, begins to push to the forefront and he wants revenge. What we get is a mind disassociating with itself and see an author's slow slide into madness.

The writing is brilliant in this novel. Narrated in the first person, Andrew Rush is really the only character in the novel, and we get to know him very, very well. Oates has also made this novel a tribute to Stephen King, who becomes a minor character in the novel through Andrew's thoughts. This is a short novel so it moves quite quickly. There are a few surprises too, so be prepared.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Mysterious Press for review purposes.
( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
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"We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss—we grow sick and dizzy. Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain."
Edgar Allan Poe, "The Imp of the Perverse"
Dedication
For Otto Penzler
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Out of the air, the ax.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802123945, Hardcover)

From one of the most inimitable writers of our generation, Jack of Spades is an exquisite, psychologically complex thriller about the opposing forces within the mind of one ambitious writer, and the line between genius and madness.

Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies in nearly thirty countries, and he has a top agent and publisher in New York. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he writes another string of novels—dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn’t be seen reading, let alone writing. Until one day, his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat—and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:17 -0400)

"Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: he has a top agent and publisher in New York, and his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies around the world. He also has a loving wife and three grown children and is a well-known philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym "Jack of Spades," he pens another string of novels-- dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn't be caught reading, let alone writing. But when one day his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out, she begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush's reputation, career, and family life all come under threat--and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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