Firmly entrenched in the dark crime genre, the structure seesaws back and forth historically. Timeshifts can be irksome in less skilled hands but they are deftly handled by Furtney and enhance the reader’s immersion into the story. We learn in flashback how Simon and the hitcher, Del, had picked up Y from a car lot but three proves a crowd and Del really does lose his head over the young temptress. We learn too how Y came to own retractable steel fangs.
Simon and Y take refuge in a remote, desert trailer camp led by the brutal Terry Mallard. They meet the scrawny Dion who “was gifted with everything you didn’t particularly want. ADHD, PTSD, and OCD were just a few” of the gifts. The writing abounds with Furtney’s dark humour. In response to someone’s toast “God bless America”, Y replies that “they’re both overrated”. When Y asks, “Simon, you think aliens fuck? Simon thought it over, then stopped when he felt IQ points slipping away.”
Frequently, the snappy interchanges between Simon and Y are reminiscent of Bogart and Bacall: Simon- “Someday I’ll move on.” Y - “What if someday comes and you don’t know it, and it just passes you by and leaves you here?” Furtney has a great ear for dialogue and the Southern drawl coalesces perfectly with the dust and sweat of the desert atmospherics.
Furtney’s prose is rhythmic, fast paced and vivid, poetic even. It came as no surprise when I found out he is also a film director because he can paint a scene extraordinarily well; “Strings of white Christmas lights zig-zagged between the trailers…thumbing their nose at the majestic sky with cheap and tawdry man-made twinkles. The fire-pit raged, logs cracking and popping like firecrackers, hot flames dancing high.” And later, Robb “leaned down and swiped a can like a bear pawing salmon”.
Their refuge is disturbed by a visitor from the past, the dynamics of the trailer trash become explosive, and erotica and death are ever-present as the plot rushes you to its unpredictable but wholly satisfying climax.
Review: You, Me, and the Devil Makes Three
By Ray Aldridge Morris - 27th December 2013
I guess it’s faint praise to say that I devoured this book at one sitting because, after all, it’s only a 78-page novella. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have put it down had it been three times that length.
The storyline revolves around two hard-bitten outcasts, Simon and Y. He’s “31 going on 80, with uncombed hair and an unshaven face”, she’s a full-breasted 15 year old with dirty blonde hair and a taste for blood - a lethal combination of Lolita and Vampirella. She is “pixie like, with features that looked carved of porcelain. The toes of her white slip-on shoes scuffed and battle-scarred from kicking the stall, so to speak.”
The first half of the novella begins with Simon’s surgical decimation of a hitcher called Del that Y has bitten to death after he raped her in a motel room. She had clung to her assailant, “chewing into his neck with snapping bites…gagging on the powerful spurts of blood that shot down her throat.” She tells Simon later, “The blood was sweet. I liked the taste.” Her slaughter of Del and Simon’s complicity to dispose of the body draw them close and the love story begins.