The charm of satire is that it can get as ridiculous as it wants and once it is done closely mimicking the ridiculosity of real life, it can descend into the downright bizarre. And Koontown Killing Kaper really does get bizarre at times. I initially thought that Bill Campbell might be introducing a touch of the paranormal to his book, but it turns out that the evil-doers were far more human and real than I imagined.
At its core, Koontown Killing Kaper is a social commentary on the wrongs that were committed against the black urban population historically: the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, the portrayal of minorities in media, the manipulation of data and statistics to suit the ruling ideology and the insistence of focusing on race when class issues are really at play.
This is a contemporary novel set in the Obama administration. It is chaotic at times, mirroring the mayhem of a city being torn apart by drugs and violence. Is it gratuitous? Sure, some readers might find the violence, blood and gore to be excessive but on the whole, it is no more so than you might expect on adult television. In the end, I’ll borrow Campbell’s tongue-in-cheek description of one of his character's books and say that Koontown Killing Kaper portrays “the gritty reality of America’s inner city streets – the pain, the despair, and, ultimately, the hope that burns within all of us”.
I give Koontown Killing Kaper four out of five stars and will certainly read more of Campbell’s work.
You can purchase Bill Campbell’s Koontown Killing Kaper from Smashwords, Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. You can also download the Triple Threat soundtrack at Bandcamp or visit the koontown.com website for merchandise.