Book Review: Jimbo Yojimbo by David W. Barbee


Available from Amazon

“From the author of Bacon Fried Bastard and A Town Called Suckhole, comes a countrified samurai epic in the vein of Squidbillies if directed by Akira Kurosawa.

A flood of frogs drowned the cities and gunked up all the guns. Now an evil restaurant chain called the Buddha Gump Shrimp Company rules a finger-licking shogunate of seafood mutants and murderous redneck swordsmen like Jimbo Yojimbo. Jimbo wants revenge on the Company for killing his family and stitching a cuttlefish to his face. After a daring escape, he will hack his way through hordes of crawdad soldiers, a church of quacking gun nuts on a jihad, and Bushido Budnick, the master chef who rules them all. But with every step he takes, Jimbo Yojimbo’s sweet revenge will surely begin to taste like shit gumbo.

JIMBO YOJIMBO is fast-paced post-apocalyptic redneck samurai tale of love, revenge, and a whole lotta mutant sumbitches.”

David W. Barbee has something truly unique going for him. I got sucked right into his work when I read his bizarro southern apocalypse novel, A Town Called Suckhole. In Jimbo Yojimbo, Barbee takes his writing to the next level, fusing redneck satire and weird fiction together by way of a samurai revenge story.

The narrative itself follows a familiar arc, with the outsiders coming together to defeat the big bad, but Barbee has taken a lot of steps to ensure that his story really goes the distance. The characters are fascinating in their self-aggrandizing/self-destructive tendencies, on top of the grotesque body modifications which plague the world in which the story takes place. And it’s really the characters’ choices to fulfil their destinies or betray their true nature which really breathes life into this story, as there are a lot of plot twists and developments which progress through this reasonably short samurai epic.

There is plenty to love about this story, from the titular character to the outsider clans to the Buddha Gump Shrimp Co. to the all-powerful leader, Bushido Budnick, but I think where this story shines the most is in the details. Barbee paints a vivid picture and fills this strange dystopian world not just with a likeable cast of main characters, but with side characters which really bolster the story beyond simply just advancing the plot.

This is my favourite Barbee book to date, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for a sequel, or at least more samurai epics in Barbee’s bizarro redneck style.

Next Week’s Review: Horror Film Poems by Christoph Paul

Last Week’s Review: The Long Night of the Eternal Korean War by G. Arthur Brown


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