John Barrie (not his real name)

Created by John Bowie

A former Britsh soldier who spent time in Northen Ireland in Special Forces, twenty-seven year old JOHN BARRIE (not his real name, he assures us) is now under Witness Protection in Untethered (2017). But a dead-ass, low-profile job is not what he wants. No matter how much he drinks or how many drugs he takes or how much court-ordered therapy he undergoes.

So he chucks his clandestine life, dons a black trenchcoat and decides to use his particular skill set to make like a P.I., searching for his asshole drug-dealing neighbour's missing girlfriend. Before too long, he's tromping all over Bristol and Manchester, plowing through the wreckage of a once-thriving club and music scene, looking for clues and a decent pub, rubbing up against assorted criminals and other miscreants, and trying to avoid various calamities, such as a near-gelding in Wales.

It's a loopy surreal fever dream of a novel, a dark, disorienting Moebius strip of people and places that are not always what they seem. Nor is Barrie himself the world's most reliable narrator, although that might be partially due to the copius amounts of drugs and alcohol coursing through his system, the sometimes-tortured syntax and run-on sentences of his narration and "the sheer noir-dance of it all."



  • It's fitting, perhaps, in a novel so brimming with misdirection and enigma-wrapped riddles that a barfly novelist John meets who's working on "his first book dabbling with noir" is named Paul Benjamin -- the same pseudonym used by Paul Auster (the meta-master behind the acclaimed New York Trilogy) for his first novel, Squeeze Play (1982).


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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