Fiction - Literary
466 Pages
Reviewed on 06/10/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Punks by Daniel Martin is an urban coming-of-age story that chronicles the lives and adventures of the main protagonist Pete Wilson and his newfound friend Dwight Morton. The book is written in the first person with the story told in a way that feels almost like a recorded, one-way conversation with outtake clips from Pete's own reality TV series. Pete and Morton quite literally cruise through life via a string of situations and circumstances that initially show an extreme degree of luck for the two. The pair picks up a hitchhiker on a road trip who turns out to be rather adept at check fraud, treating Pete and Morton to the high life by splashing out on fine food and luxury hotels. As the story progresses, Pete and Morton have multiple run-ins with law enforcement, their luck running out when their drug dealing lands them in prison.

Punks is an easy book to get into, and Daniel Martin does an amazing job at delivering a story that never loses pace and is really difficult to put down. The narrative will likely shock those who aren't accustomed to a stream of consciousness format and is frequently rambling, without a care in the world for punctuation or lengthy and overtly loquacious run-on sentences. I can see many readers clutching their pearls, but the format does actually work for readers who are open-minded enough to just go with it. Pete is a poorly educated young man of dubious origin, and the abrasiveness of his first-person narrative is perfect for conveying grit and crassness, while still allowing his street smarts to poke through where any formal education would not. I enjoyed Punks immensely and believe it will resonate well with readers who liked books such as Crank by Ellen Hopkins and A Million Little Pieces by James Frey.

Tammy Ruggles

Punks by Daniel Martin is a novel about punks and punk life, what life is like on the wrong side of the tracks. It's about punks trying to fit in with the more cultured, and the barriers that shouldn't--but do-- keep them separated. The story is told in the first-person by a punk. His language is stark, his sexual situations are frank, and so is the imagery he evokes, but it's all part of the character and makes for a compelling read. It doesn't have perfect characters, with perfect outcomes, but it does have an honest feel to it that a lot of books today just don't have. Some of the chapters, coming off more like movie scenes, are full of conflict and violence--setting a house on fire for example--but the book IS called Punks, after all.

Punks doesn't apologize for its content. It is what it is, and that's kind of refreshing. Readers don't always have to agree with characters and situations in order to be entertained. Daniel Martin's style isn't dry or pretentious--it feels real. The dialogue pops out at you, the racist language makes you feel uncomfortable, the characters can be impulsive, brutal, and sometimes empathetic, but you instantly get the feeling that you're along for the ride, good or bad. The humor in some of the lines is an unexpected bonus. If you're looking for a book that has something different, something raw to offer, then Punks by Daniel Martin just might be the one. Think "The Outsiders" on steroids. But stay away from this book if you're easily triggered by language, violence, and controversy.

Lesley Jones

In Punks by Daniel Martin, when a young boy is caught making out by the girl's father, events take a dangerous turn and he is forced to leave town with an eccentric acquaintance, Dwight Morton. They have no set destination but know anywhere is better than home. After picking up a strange hitchhiker and learning the skills of survival in a harsh, unforgiving world, they arrive in New York City. They discover the joys of the company of fine and not so fine women and life seems good. The boys realize that to keep their new-found lifestyle they have to get some kind of work. Selling drugs seems the obvious and easiest choice. But the once carefree lifestyle they enjoyed becomes a dark and frightening one when they are arrested. As they are charged and sent to prison, the boys soon realize they have entered hell on earth and now they have to learn the rules of prison life quickly to make it through their sentence alive.

Punks by Daniel Martin is definitely a two-part tale. The first section was filled with hilarious events and characters. I loved the dialogue between the two friends; it was so authentic and definitely not politically correct, which added even more realism to the situations the characters found themselves in. The plot was well thought out with great moments of conflict as the friends stumbled from one hapless situation to the next. However, the story takes an alarming turn when they are sent to prison. There are some truly brutal scenes and they are definitely not for the easily offended. This is a graphic, gritty depiction of prison life with characters that are spine-chilling. The personal journey of the two friends, as they try to adapt to being caged, is very interesting. The author has taken an enormous amount of care and consideration in every aspect of this novel. The characters are well-defined, compelling and memorable. The dialogue speaks volumes about the personality of the characters and their view of the world. There are also many areas of suspense and tension that are completely engaging. The ending is very poignant and will bring a tear to your eye.