Advertising Large

Russ, Victor, Harley, and Slake, all ex-convicts, gather to begin work on changing the contents of Big Bertha, a gigantic billboard located in the middle of a field near a highway, but still in the middle of nowhere. As three men ascend to begin the task, Harley stays below with a vehicle and is eaten by a herd of virus-ridden pigs which seems to communicate by some sort of a telepathically transmitted plan that allows the ever increasing herd to act in unison towards a common goal. That goal is to kill, destroy, and eat the three remaining survivors.

With a beginning like this, a few questions occur to the reader. How can three people stranded on top of a billboard provide the material for more than a short story? No problem; there was a boat, a fish, and Melville, so this might work out. Not to put author Vaughn in the same writer category, but this author explores each of the characters thoroughly (even the short lived Harley) looking for character flaws that led them to be ex-convicts that in turn led them to such a dead end (pun intended) career. Russ, Victor, and Slake react to Harley in different ways so the reader gets a clear picture of Harley. The remaining three reveal their flaws through conversations with each other during their lengthy period of being trapped. There is not much more to do, except to survive in the face of no food, no water, a hot sun, and no realistic hope of being rescued. Victor harps on the idea of their ultimate fate and his acceptance of it, much to the annoyance of the other two.

The reader is thus faced with interesting character sketches, an interesting and informative account of the degradation of the human body without food and water, the effects of this degradation on the human mind and spirit, and a very interesting observation on addiction in its various forms: alcohol, narcotics, and addiction to anything. There are observations here that should interest anyone involved in AA, NA, or other addiction treatment organizations no matter the level, patient or sponsor.

Then there is the great ending. It is multi-part. Even if the reader anticipated a part; it would be difficult to anticipate the entire conclusion. This is a fast paced, entertaining, worth-while read.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.