Gothic Violence has been the subject of some kind of viral marketing campaign on various "anonymous online message forums" and features a decidedly-edgy cover, which I will not be posting here. Supposedly it's an even better novel than Ma's first book, Harassment Architecture. Ma certinaly deserves credit for interesting book titles and covers. But I digress.
What is the plot of Gothic Violence, you ask? Not much. The tagline is something about "a gang of jihadist surfers (?) take down the power grid using insider trading profits (?) and capture the state of Florida amidst the panic." That sounds interesting, I suppose, until you read the book and realize the plot is secondary to a bunch of random, pseudo-self-improvement rants the author goes on chapter-by-chapter in lieu of a proper narrative.
To me, Gothic Violence reads like a young novelist's attempt at some sort of Fight Club meets Glamorama style edgy thriller. Celebrities are name-dropped early and often. The surfer gang's mission is vaguely defined. And the middle of the novel is basically Ma ranting about stuff.
Then the book ends around 200 pages or so. There's even a mention to deceased internet icon Zyzz along the way.
Gothic Violence certainly isn't a bad novel but it's clearly written by someone in his 20s who is still developing as a writer. Thumbs decidedly in the middle for this one. I wish the plot was more fleshed-out.