The F*ck It List
by John Niven
Today I am bringing you my review of The F*ck It List by John Niven. The book was provided to me by the publishers via Netgalley in order to review. I am taking part in the blog tour for the book, which was organised by Anne of Random Things Tours – the full list of bloggers taking part can be seen at the end of this post – please do check out all of their blogs!
Now, if business taken care of, let’s begin. 🙂
You are dying. Who do you kill?
Set in a near-future America, an America that has borne two terms of Trump Presidency and is now in the first term of Donald’s daughter as president, Frank Brill, a retired small-town newspaper editor, lives in a world where the populist policies Trump is currently so keen to pursue have been a reality for some years and are getting even more extreme – an erosion of abortion rights, less and less gun control, xenophobic immigration policies.
Frank, a good man, has just been given a terminal diagnosis. Rather than compile a bucket list of all the things he’s ever wanted to do in his life, he instead has at the ready his ‘fuck-it list’. Because Frank has had to endure more than his fair share of personal misfortune. And he has the names of those who are to blame for the tragedies that have befallen him.
But eventually, as he becomes more accustomed to dishing out cold revenge and the stakes get higher and higher, and with a rogue county sheriff on his tail, there only remains one name left at the bottom of his fuck-it list.
You haven’t felt well for a few weeks, and you have an inclination that something is wrong, so you go to the doctor. The doctor runs tests, and comes back with the bad news. Cancer. Most people would immediately jump to “How long do I have? What are the next steps?”… Not Frank. No Frank has been waiting for this moment. A time when he can throw caution to the wind. A time when he can get revenge.
Frank has a list of five names. Five names of people who he blames for all of the misfortunes that befell him. Now, it might be time to start scraping off some of those names.
Set in the near future of 2026 we live in a world where a Trump is still in the White House, albeit Ivanka and NOT “The Donald”. Ivanka is now half way through her term but it is not her policies that are causing a problem. It is everything that was put in place by her father, who was able to really push his ideas through after winning the 2020 election. With total power on all fronts, abortion is outlawed, gun control is almost non-existent and ICE are running riot. Xenophobia is rampant and shouts of TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP are the norm.
For all the above reasons and more, it is very easy to support Frank in this book. It is not often I end up on the side of the killer. Frank himself is not angel, and is certainly not Mr. Squeaky clean, but given all the hardships he goes through it is easy to take his side. He is written perfectly, and is essentially written as HUMAN. He has his regrets, he has his faults, but he is certainly not a monster, and he just wants to see the world as a better place than it has become. Revenge it seems, has never been sweeter.
On the other hand, we have the cop tailing Frank. He is a despicable, all American, Trump loving, gun toting xenophobe. I hated him, but he is absolutely perfect in the role of villain. It seems strange to type it that way. The man trying to find the killer is the villain of the piece purely because he is a complete and utter… well…. I’ll let you choose your expletive.
The author has also written “The Donald” perfectly, his incoherent ramblings and self-praise are well matched to what we have all become used to.
The story is packed full of dark humour. While it is relatively easy to guess where this one is going, it is never very clear how Frank aims to complete his mission. The author succeeding in keeping me guessing the whole way through. A pulsating storyline with an epic finale – this is a story that I couldn’t stop reading.
Before the current pandemic this book may have read as all too plausible. Now, with current events I’m not sure where we stand. While the overall story may not be possible, if “The Donald” does get a second term, this book serves as a stark look at all things that may come to pass.
This is the first time I have read a book by the author, but it certainly won’t be the last. Fantastic. Highly recommend. 5 Big Stars.
The F*ck It List was released on March 26th – and is available NOW from all good book sellers.
About the author
John Niven was born in Irvine, Ayrshire. He is the author of the novella Music from the Big Pink and the novels Kill Your Friends, The Amateurs, The Second Coming, Cold Hands, Straight White Male, The Sunshine Cruise Company, No Good Deed and Kill ‘Em All.
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