Michael James Rizza (author); CARTILAGE AND SKIN; Starcherone Press (Fiction: Thriller) 16.00 ISBN: 9781938603198
Byline: Sheila M. Trask
Our ever-changing perception of reality is at the heart of Michael James Rizza's unsettling debut novel. In Cartilage and Skin, Rizza shines an uncomfortable light on his voyeuristic antihero, Dr. Parker, an eccentric recluse holed up in an anonymous apartment, working on an undefined manuscript. Parker has an odd relationship with the people around him, from the nameless boy he sends on errands to the agoraphobic neighbor whose mail he diverts, but the former professor doesn't think these things odd. He's quite adamant about his innocence, actually, calling to mind the pleading, hyperrational voice of the madman in Poe's "Telltale Heart."
Like Poe's madman, Parker is an unreliable -- and creepy -- narrator from the start, but Rizza conveys his perspective eloquently and consistently, half convincing the reader that maybe he's right...