The Cretin Gene by Brendan Ball
5 Stars: Complex Satire
The Cretin Gene by Brendan Ball admittedly I had to read a few pages over and over to ensure myself I understood the plot of Al Horowitz and the Kid. Al Horowitz an old man on the run, a cartoonist and "ninja" with sidekick nephew the Kid. Al finds himself on the "Most Wanted List" when amazingly one of his characters, Q. Cumber comes to life and assassinates a North Korean dissident thus entering a web of conspiracy, social awkwardness, and satire of our divisions like immigration. The Cretin Gene hits my sense of humor on an emotional and intellectual level, Brendan Ball writes like a master storyteller, maybe he is already there.
Having duel narration from Al and the Kid perhaps not crucial for the plot to move from point to point but a service for entertaining the reader, as the story continues Brenden interjects satire of group thinking or mob thinking chasing "Al" for the crimes of anthropomorphic cucumber. The Cretin Gene is pretty insightful on nationalism, problematic easily offended groups written with no cheap shots. The sentiment I walk away with from this book is for a better future we need less information because most it is not real.
"Al" and "the Kid's" chemistry in their adventures is a perfect combination of one character being so out there with his ego and the other so awkward makes it easier to understand some high-level writing by Brendan Ball.