“"Y'know," Debs says, "it's just as well no one else can see what I can see. I'd hate for anyone to think my husband was a mentaller who needs to put in a couple of hours talking to his characters to get set up for the day".
Our narrator is writing his latest novel when he is interrupted by Billy Karlsson. Karlsson was a character in a previous novel that he left high and dry when he abandoned the book. Billy is a newer, more mellow incarnation of Karlsson. He needs the book to be finished so he can escape from the limbo of an unrealised existence so Billy promises an explosive ending if the book can be redrafted. He promises to carry out Karlsson’s threat, from the original novel, and blow up the hospital where he spends his days as a disillusioned porter. But graduating from euthanizing the odd elderly patient to blowing up an entire hospital involves a lot of hurdles.
There aren’t that many original novels around these days; Absolute Zero Cool subverts a genre. The author twists the perspective so that we are reading about the writing process as much as following the characters. The witty one-liners alone would make this book a must-read, but instead it is the dark, violent, intelligent plot that is so engrossing. This book has stayed in my system in the hours since I finished reading, but I think that was the intention.