At times the standard 9-to-5 grind is a soul-sucking drag and entrepreneurial occupations are more appealing and fulfilling, as explored within Grand Theft Octo by Niels Saunders.
Jonathan Doe is staying at his co-worker Harry’s flat while looking after his copious plants (which all have names, nicknames, and particular personalities), having assured Harry that he formerly cared for plants professionally. But in reality Jonathan is trying to forge his path to fortune through freelance taxidermy, despite having no experience in it. After taking a job that brings him into the orbit of Lewis Caputo, a man who has power in the city and the gumption to profit from the ideas and work of others, Jonathan finds that his taxidermy days are over and instead turns to professional octopus teasing. In getting this new enterprise running, Jonathan has eccentric plans to obtain the materials he needs as well as to inspire life into languid octopods, which gains the attention of Caputo and gets Jonathan involved in a revealing and violent scheme for revenge.
Quick-moving and captivating, the quirkiness of the entrepreneurial premises were entertaining while the narrative insightfully probed the psychological rifts within the characters that made the outlandish seem rational. Injecting quick wit and humor into dark and dangerous situations provides a tenuous balance to the range of emotions presented in the story and prevents it from being entirely unbeliveable. From the relatively obvious clues dropped throughout the narrative that continued cropping up, I was prepared for the ending’s reveal and found it to be satisfying and appropriate for the odd events of the story.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.