THE BITCH in Les Edgerton’s novel is not who or what you might expect from the title, but it’s a serious bitch nonetheless. It hounds Jake, Edgerton’s matter-of-fact narrator, from chapter one to the very last page. And along the way, Edgerton makes sure we get to know the bitch real well.
For the most part, the story takes place outside of prison, on the bricks, but the joint casts its shadow large from the moment Jake’s former cellmate calls him out of the blue. Walker Joy is a cruel oxymoronic name for a guy who brings a shit storm into Jake’s life—a good life he’ll do anything to protect.
In a jocular passionate voice, Jake leads the reader step by rational step into dark corners completely foreign to your average "civilian". The horrific decisions Jake has to make would be much less believable if it weren't for Edgerton's masterful hand. Given what’s at stake, there’s hardly a moment when you can argue with the path Jake takes—even as the grotesque results pile deeper by the page.
This is the kind of book you're going to reach for at 3:30 in the morning because whatever crap is disturbing your sleep won't stand a chance against the terror looming in the next chapter.
THE BITCH doesn't rely on bad luck or cheap device to create drama. Nothing pops out of the closet when it oughn't. Jake plays the cards he's dealt. It's a lousy hand and he does all he can to make it better. He's got optimism, criminal skill, and solid execution. He even gets a couple good breaks. But the deeper he goes, the more the bitch laughs in his face.
And where THE BITCH takes him ain't funny at all. Even if it makes tragic good sense.