I’m traveling outside my comfort zone a little bit. Okay, a lot. Usually, I’m a serious mystery/horror/thriller reader and watcher. I haven’t had much love for comedy in any sense, even dark humor, because rarely is it done right.
So, I’ve left it alone. Until now.
Jynx, written by Simon Corn, is a delightfully dark comedic mystery. The story follows Jynx, a germophobic man who generally keeps to himself and harbors an eerie secret. Jynx’s secret? Death inhabits his body from time to time and forces Jynx to watch Others die. When Jynx meets Chelsea, Sea for short, Jynx’s small, quiet world gets turned upside down. He becomes involved in the biggest mystery/scandal the small town of Hazyview has probably ever seen, and Mister Death is a part of it.
I just want to start out by saying I adore this book. It’s not straight up horror or thriller or comedy. It’s a combination of all three genres. After the first page, I was hooked, and I’ll tell you why.
The character of Jynx is very special. Jynx is an intensely germophobic man who can be self-conscious about the scars on his body from a car accident when he was a child. Jynx is one of those quirky characters that you don’t understand at first, but begin to love as you read on. What I love most about Jynx is that he has a biting wit that serves him well throughout the novel (and it makes for good storytelling in general).
The character of Sea is Jynx’s foil. She is an attractive, brash, and, in Jynx’s mind, unsanitary woman who gets Jynx involved in the mystery in Hazyview. Sea’s intentions are good, but she gets them into a lot of trouble. Because I like the character of Jynx so much, it is difficult to like the character of Sea. But much like Jynx, I tolerate her because for all her faults, she has a charm about her that is easy to love.
The novel is written in first person, from Jynx’s point of view. Because of this, I identified with Jynx’s character the most. Jynx addresses the reader directly throughout the novel, reinforcing that bond that keeps the reader reading. In a way, Jynx and the reader become friends; Whatever Jynx does, I found myself generally supporting his decisions. Whatever Jynx thought, I found myself agreeing more often than not. You get the idea.
I give this novel five out of five spooks. Jynx is a well-crafted novel that refuses to let go. The mystery, thriller, and comedy elements are expertly balanced throughout the story. The characters of Jynx and Sea are also perfectly balanced, making them the perfect team. The first-person narrative hooks the reader, investing the reader in the story for the long haul.