{Review} Jack of Spades by Joyce Carol Oates
by Joyce Carol Oates Published by Mysterious Press on 5/5/2015 Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller Pages: 208 Format: eBook Buy on Amazon... {Review} Jack of Spades by Joyce Carol Oates 4.5
by Joyce Carol Oates
Published by Mysterious Press on 5/5/2015
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 208
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon


From one of the most inimitable writers of our generation, Jack of Spades is an exquisite, psychologically complex thriller about the opposing forces within the mind of one ambitious writer, and the line between genius and madness.

Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies in nearly thirty countries, and he has a top agent and publisher in New York. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he writes another string of novels—dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn’t be seen reading, let alone writing. Until one day, his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat—and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts.


This book’s page count is listed as 208, but it felt much shorter than that to me. This mystery/thriller/psychological story flies by, while the reader is always wondering what the hell is going on?

Andrew Rush is a mystery/thriller novelist and quite a successful one at that. He also writes under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades”. Jack writes very different books than Mr. Rush. Jack’s books are gory and avoided by the literati, while Andrew is celebrated as the “Gentlemen’s Stephen King.”

Things begin to go sideways when Andrew is summoned to court by a woman who claims he robbed her house and stole her works in progress-her writing. She’s calling him out in public as a plagiarist and he cannot stand for it.

Enough rehashing of the plot. This book constantly left me guessing. I couldn’t pluck out even one thread and follow it to a logical conclusion. I could only hang on and enjoy the ride, and that? That I did because it was one hell of a ride!

In the past, the work of Joyce Carol Oates been hit or miss with me. I’m happy to report this book was a major hit. Fast paced, always leaving the reader guessing with major plot twists-this book was a delicious treat.

Highly recommended for fans of fast paced mysteries and thrillers, and also to fans of psychological tales with a dash of the horrific.

*A free e-copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. This is it.*

About Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde. Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award. Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978



I'm a lover of books, most especially horror, classic horror and dark fiction. I also love the blues and rock n roll.

  • Laurie


    February 10, 2015 #1 Author

    Great review, Char. I find Oates hit or miss as well. Glad this was a hit.


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