The Tragedy Man by Staci Layne Wilson

The Tragedy Man - Staci Layne Wilson, Andy Garrison

Cary works at a dreary art gallery and he does not like his boss. He may even wish ill upon him, if only in his thoughts. As he sinks further into his own little world of misery, he daydreams about creative deaths for the jerk in charge of his work life.

When his boss turns up dead, Cary decides he’s going to become an Important Literary Writer of Important and Smart Literary Things. Instead, he sells a pulp horror novel all the while despising himself for writing such drivel and he becomes very successful in spite of himself but his success has a steep price. Cary really should’ve read the contract before signing it . . . 

The rest of the book follows the insufferable and always morose Cary as he falls further and further into a fever dream of sex, violence, madness and poor-me-ism. 

I liked some of the story even though it’s quite easy to guess at what’s going on here and the terrible images in the latter half had me laughing at Cary’s expense but I did not like a single thing about Cary. He’s a depressing, pompous sad-sack, lacking charm and self-awareness and he is also weak and insecure and has a mommy issue or two. He’s just really douchy, hateful and hard to stomach. I guess I wasn’t supposed to like him but his terrible snobbery and constant jabs at horror fiction made this story a not-so-fun time for me. He and his lover were constantly denigrating the genre I love most in the world, as well as its fans, and I found it all very unpleasant and wished painful death upon him a million times over. But the ending was spectacular so I am torn about a rating. I suspect I’ll go with a three after stewing on it for a bit. 

I listened to this story as an unabridged audio (and, YES, that counts as reading – fight me) and the narrator does a terrific job of bringing Cary’s arrogant and bitter tone to life. 

*I received a copy of this audio courtesy of the author.