Incel Mantis: Diary of a Redpilled Man
by Calvin Loch
Audax Books

"Indeed rumors swirl about that I mightn’t be as squeaky clean as I pretend to be."

Calvin is a partner in his father's law firm. However, his aptitude and skills make him more a fixer than a lawyer, not only for particular clients but for his own transgressions. His toxic masculinity would be repellant but for the author's amusing and articulate presentation in the distinctive voice of his alter ego. The protagonist has the same name as the author, and, of course, leaves the reader wondering how confessional this novel is. As the story opens, Calvin's impulsive gaslighting and harassment of his attractive legal assistant seem to arise from a short man's complex. At five-seven, Calvin seems ever aware of men taller and more massive than he. Calvin is about as delusional a man as they come, yet will captivate readers as a likable villain. When he flees New York City and goes on the lam, Calvin rationalizes all the way about the good he's done with his revenge killings.

Calvin's narcissistic mood swings combining grandiose self-love and self-loathing set the tone early in the novel as he assaults a young man in a parking lot encounter. When he's forced to negotiate an out-of-court settlement with the boy's greedy father to save his career, Calvin intends to kill the man when he delivers payment. However, he's interrupted, setting the tone for his many murderous fantasies. This complex, non-linear story can be mystifying at times in its twists and turns of narrative logic, yet it remains engaging throughout. The outrageous, exploitive protagonist and the complexities of the story may turn some readers off but challenge and compel tolerant and curious readers to keep pages turning. The first-person viewpoint of this contemporary crime thriller is written in rapid-fire, confessional prose, and the author builds his characters and scenes reminiscent of the style of authors Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis.

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