I was kindly given this place on the tour and gifted this book by Meggy from Red Dog Press; thank you very much! This is an honest review and all opinions are my own.
Genre: Noir, Fiction
Date Read: 16th 22nd October 2020
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Intense Violence
1949: Rudy, A Jewish New Yorker snatches a briefcase of cash from a dead man in Los Angeles and runs away from his old life, into the arms of the Boston mob.
1966: Hinako, a young Japanese girl runs away from what she thought was the suffocating conformity of a life in Japan. Aiming to make a fresh start in America, she falls into the grip of an Hawaiian gang dubbed ‘The Company’.
1967: Rudy and Hinako’s lives collide in the city of Honolulu, where there is nowhere left for either of them to run, and only blood remains to redeem them.
Say Goodbye When I’m Gone jumps around manically in time and space to show us the lives of Hinako and Judy, as they inevitably come together in one of the most intense and heart-wrenching climaxes I’ve ever read.
This novel is not for the faint-hearted – please don’t read it while eating like I did. It is full to the brim of violence; there is murder, spousal abuse, rape, sexual assault, and even a young boy who gets off on hurting people. But when you look underneath all this, there are some deeply complex characters. Rudy falls in with a bad crowd which results in his eldest daughter, Grace, being fatally shot. His pain and guilt is something he carries with him for his whole life, even when all his family are either moved away or dead. Despite being a murderer, we still sympathise for him, possibly because of the flashbacks where we see how he cares so much for his wife and family, and his treatment of Hinako.
Hinako’s strand of the storyline was my favourite. Hinako is a young Japanese girl who wants to go to the US to have individuality and freedom, and get away from the monotony and depravity of Nagoya. She spots an ad for a maid job in a beautiful hotel in Hawaii and instantly jumps at the chance. However when she gets there, she is dehumanised and treated in the worst way possible; her time with Rudy in his antiques shop are her only moments of solace.
This book has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen, a sideways cover is always intriguing but this is a work of art. It’s bold and bright, reminiscent of a postcard or video case, with a little touch of blood, of course.
Overall, Say Goodbye When I’m Gone is everything one would want in a gritty noir. It’s incredibly dark and gruesome; there’s moral ambiguity, there’s cruelty, and there is sex. What more could one want?
Stephen J. Golds was born in London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life. He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. His novel Say Goodbye When I’m Gone will be released by Red Dog Press in October 2020 and another novel Always the Dead will be released by Close to The Bone Press January 2021.
Directly from Red Dog Press => https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/product-page/say-goodbye-when-i-m-gone