Lee Thompson is a rare thing; a cracking writer and a genuinely nice bloke. He has started on the verge of real success (he has a forthcoming novel from Delirium Books and it’s already being compared to early Greg F Gifune) but his enthusiasm and passion for the genre is refreshing. Outside of short stories, this was the first 'longer' work of Thompson's I've read.
As I Embrace My Jagged Edges (Sideshow Press) tells the story of a shard from King Solomon’s temple guarded by a Jewish family. Boaz, twin brother to Angel, must come of age and stand tall against an onrushing chaos of demons, golems, sea gods and his own sexuality.
Thompson builds a believable mythical backdrop, based on Jewish history, and uses it to weave a mounting tension in the first two sections Morning and Afternoon. In the second half the pace hits breakneck and hurtles towards a startling climax, whipping the reader along for the ride. The final scene on the beach is superbly staged and littered with memorable imagery.
At its heart, lies Boaz, the real success of this story. In Boaz, Thompson has created a believable and flawed protagonist, whose struggles against his family, his own sexuality and the demons massing on the horizon will ring true with many a teenager. The second act - where Boaz meets the boy at the lighthouse - showed me the true potential of Thompson’s writing, a scene that carried a ring of truth and made for poignant reading.
The myth-making on display here is reminiscent of early Clive Barker and the unexpected poignancy put me in mind of British writer Joel Lane. All these ingredients make for a great novelette, packaged in ebook format at a very reasonable $3.
Undoubtedly, Lee Thompson will be a name to watch in 2011.