All is good in the life of Jack Price. His drug operation is the Amazon of cocaine trafficking...but then: His downstairs neighbor is professionally executed. That the murder is a sign for Jack becomes perfectly clear a few days later when he arrives home and is beaten to a bloody pulp by a squad of enforcers. Now revenge is on his mind.
... Truhen’s narrator is Jack Price. 'I am Uber for illegal drugs,' he reports. 'I’m infrastructure. I’m substrate. I don’t make waves and I am polite. There’s no collateral from what I do. None at all. When they decriminalize — and they will — I will go from here to there without doing anything except sending Forbes a press release.' ... Or so he thinks. A cranky old woman is murdered in the apartment below his, and Jack grows edgy, wondering whether his smoothly corporatized cocaine distribution network is in peril. Setting out to investigate, he very rapidly and pointlessly unleashes hell upon himself in the form of the Seven Demons, a team of maniacal assassins who arrive en masse to murder him ... The Price You Pay, a slim, superbly intelligent, intensely vicious panorama of white-collar drug world mayhem by Aidan Truhn.
In Jack Price’s world, killing is as compulsive as popping bubble wrap: 'like Candy Crush', as he says, 'but with murder.' The Price You Pay is a catchy and distinctive comic revenge thriller by Aidan Truhen – the pseudonym, we are told, of an established author – with a strikingly larger-than-life narrator protagonist. He’s a mouthy wise-ass, whether musing on herbal tea, deciding the free market is 'a prick', or shooting someone in the eye ... This catchy revenge thriller, from an established author writing under a pseudonym, is gleefully over-the-top.
Jack Price is a coke dealing free market entrepreneur. He sells Pale Peruvian Stallion which is, in fact, grown and processed locally. He arranges his deliveries with freelancers in the zero-hours, gig-economy spirit of modern capitalism. As Price says, he is the Uber for illegal drugs ... It’s a genius set up with a minimal supply chain that reduces any opportunities for leaks and snitches ... Then his highly successful one-man startup goes pear shaped. First, his elderly neighbour, Didi, ends up dead...She might have been an ugly bad-tempered old lady but that doesn’t mean he is happy about it. Price starts making some enquiries but earns himself a beating and a warning. He doesn’t let it go and quickly he ends up with a contract on his head. It’s a spectacular escalation but the Seven Demons are now after him ... if the style doesn’t induce grammatical apoplexy then you’ll be able to appreciate that the writing sparkles. It’s caustic and cutting. The Price You Pay is also a surprisingly warm book given the cool and calculating sociopathy of Jack Price. He’s not infallible either and for all his slightly manic thought processes he’s straight down the line. There’s no unreliable narrator here.