Jack of Spades: A Tale of Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates – book review

Oates is an award winning writer for a reason. Whatever it is that she decides to write about is wonderful. Oftentimes it’s not “pleasant” or “fun” to read, but it usually is pretty riveting and very good. Jack of Spades is no exception. This book chronicles the unraveling of mystery writer Andrew J. Rush after he is accused of plagiarism. At first his reaction seems to be a little over-the-top, but we soon see that Rush is indeed having some kind of crises here. Not only is he a best-selling mystery writer, but he also writes some questionable novels with a much darker side to them. Rush writes these books under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades”; uses a different publisher, and hides it all from his wife and children. Obviously he sees a problem with these other books, but enjoys writing them too much to stop.

The novel continues with the complete breakdown of Rush, leading the reader to question his entire narrative of his life right back to the mysterious death of his younger brother. By the end of the novel, I seriously wondered if Rush had been nuts all of his life. And, his poor unsuspecting family!

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good goose bumpy chill! It left me wondering if we really do know the people in our lives.


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