The Last Projector by David James Keaton is a brutal headcase of a novel, dealing with the muck collecting under rolls of celluloid and DVD trays, the symbiotic relationship of on-screen smut and technological progress and life struggling to keep up with art, even as art grows bloated, uncontrollable and finally collapses in itself in an orgy of self-destruction.
David James Keaton’s style is simple (but not plain), lyrical at just the right places and seems to hover somewhere between Quentin Tarantino’s aggressive brand of cynicism and Palahniuk’s obsession with dredging beautiful imagery out of base grime. While the novel becomes overwhelmingly gritty at times as it follows a pack of misfit characters through their spiral to disaster that culminates in considerable property damage, The Last Projector manages to maintain the reader’s interest even to the bitter end.
The book’s cover art is by Joel Vollmer top-notch graphic novel quality, but perhaps it cannot convey the sheer madness taking place between the covers.
One major gripe I have with this novel is its ending. Despite its considerable page count (almost 500+ pages) I managed to finish it in 3 solid sittings. While I had time to love to hate its bastards and hate myself somewhat for loving its subject matter, the ending came abruptly and lacked that particular visceral kick that I felt would make this one of my personal favorite books of this year.
As it stands, The Last Projector is a more than recommended read for lovers of visceral everyday madness, but I suggest that the general reading audience should first familiarize themselves with Mr. Keaton’s previous work, to ease the blow.