Book Review: Joe Pontepinto’s Mr. Neutron

final-cover-comp-smallTITLE: Mr. Neutron

AUTHOR: Joe Ponepinto

PUB: 7.13 Books

RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2018


I had the opportunity to snag an ARC of Joe Ponepinto’s forthcoming novel, Mr. Neutron, and I jumped at the opportunity. Ponepinto is the publisher and fiction editor of Tahoma Literary Review (a journal I happen to love), so I couldn’t wait to see how he’d use his witty style to satirize a political campaign in the West Coast city of Grand River.

Mr. Neutron follows Gray Davenport, a washed-up journalist and failed political consultant, who finds himself advising the lamest horse in a three-way race for Grand River mayor. His chief opponent, Reason Wilder, is an eight-foot monster straight out of a mad scientist’s laboratory. Gray’s ex-wife, along with almost everyone else in Grand River, is trapped under the weight of the beast’s bizarre but magnetic charm. But not Gray. Gray knows something just doesn’t add up about the surprising, new candidate. When the beautiful and mysterious Breeze Wellington inflates Gray’s ego with her sudden interest in him, Gray sets off on a course through the underground political landscape in search of answers where he finds more than he ever wanted to know.

What struck me most about Mr. Neutron was Ponepinto’s ability to create such a timely political landscape; one that deftly questions the limitations of a democratic society. Ponepinto shines an intensely bright spotlight on how easy it can be for the few to manipulate the ideas and actions of the many. And he does it through his larger-than-life characters that produce the kind of rip-roaring humor you’d expect in a brilliantly written piece of cutting satire. Mr. Neutron is a clever and entertaining read. I highly recommend it.

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