Book Blog -- LEVERAGE by Joshua C. Cohen

Katherine Longshore 3 Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Happy October, everyone!  Welcome to a month of ghouls and ghosts.  Witches, vampires and zombies.  Everyone loves a fright, right?

Well, not me.  I don’t do scary.  The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova – brilliant in its history – gave me nightmares.  Just being in the same town, during our retreat, as the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining made me nervous.  Public restrooms still freak me out after seeing the movie Copycat in the 90’s.  I have never seen Jaws.

However, this month’s book blog is devoted to scary books.  I needed to swallow my fear and find a good one.  I thought about what terrifies me most – and it’s not zombies or vampires or even possessed dolls (though I shudder at the very idea of them – the only reason I haven’t yet read Gretchen McNeil’s POSSESS).  No, the thing that scares me most is the cruelty of the real world.

So I chose this week to write about LEVERAGE by Joshua C. Cohen.  This is a book that is all about cruelty.  But more than that, it is all about fear.  Not fright – a ghoul popping out of the darkness or Glenn Close leaping out of the bathtub – but the deep-rooted, undeniable emotion that can seize our hearts, control us, and even paralyze our very thoughts.

Told from the alternating perspectives of two very different athletes, LEVERAGE recounts the details of a fictional incident inspired by factual events. 

From Cohen’s LEVERAGE website:

There's an extraordinary price for victory at Oakgrove High. It is paid on - and off - the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy - including the most innocent bystanders. 

When a violent, steriod-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school's salvation.

Cohen’s book is so frightening, I had to put it down halfway through and let it rest for a couple of days.  It is told with a visceral grip on reality and an unflinching eye on the truth – no matter how ugly.  I absolutely had to finish it.  In the end, it didn’t give me nightmares.  It gave me hope.


Eeee! Sounds compelling.

You've never seen Jaws? Maybe that's for the best. I saw it at an impressionable age and I have a hard time going in the water...even lakes.

Oh, roro, you won't be disappointed when you get it. And yes, Beth, it is compelling! I'll tell you the reason I'll never see Jaws one of these days...

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