Release date: April 3, 2018
Psycho. Sick. Dangerous. Real Dufresne’s reputation precedes him. When the mangled body of his best friend, Shaun, turns up in a field just east of town, tough-as-hell Real blames himself. But except for the nightmares, all Re remembers is beating the living crap out of Shaun the night of his death.
Shaun’s girlfriend, sixteen-year-old Evie Hawley, keeps her feelings locked up tight. But now she’s pregnant, and the father of her baby is dead. And when Real looks to her to atone for his sins, everything goes sideways. Fast.
The tighter Evie and Real get, the faster things seem to fall apart. And falling in love might just be the card that knocks the whole house down.
Out of all the ARCs I had requested as of late, I desired Black Chuck the most. It’s easy to see the appeal in the dark, mysterious cover and the premise was brimming with a sort of broodiness that I was always attracted to. Unfortunately, while I appreciated the uniqueness of the concept, the amount of diversity involved, and the addicting nature of the story overall, those aspects couldn’t save the rest of the book from being simply average.
The overall plot seemed to progress at a steady pace but certain subplots were left unexplored, and their sudden relevance at points felt forced and abrupt. This goes hand in hand with the characters, who seem to have depth but not enough to fully impact the several subplots they are involved in. Real, Evie, Sunny, Alex, and Shaun are the main characters and I would say they are an intriguing, diverse, and layered group. Each of them have their own backstories but I simply couldn’t muster any interest to care about them. They are have interesting backgrounds but the motives behind their actions are hardly explored and most of their character traits are told rather than shown. However, Real and Evie both were likable enough to drive the story well and I did enjoy reading about Shaun and Evie’s tumultuous relationship, even if the way it was expressed was a tad out of order.
There is an aspect of Native American ancestry incorporated, as Real is part Native American, where Real details how he’s descended from a famous cannibal named Black Chuck. Frankly, this element was grossly underused and seemed to cramp up the style and vibe of the story, because, well, it was so out of place. It played a large part toward the end, but it didn’t serve much purpose other to add to the diversity aspect, in my aspect. However, it was interesting to read about such a concept again, the only other time I had experienced something similar to this was in The Lives Of Desperate Girls, which was also set in Canada and explored Native American reservations.
Black Chuck is an unconventional, moody, and diverse mystery but it promises much more than it can deliver. Give it a try if you’re in the mood for something totally new, but it won’t be as satisfying as you want it to be.