Author: Mike Bartos
BASH blasts with brash and avuncular humanity – it is so human you want to be one of the characters within it! Only – not so much. BASH is the Bay Area State Hospital for the criminally “insane.”
A slice of Hiaasen, a drop of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a touch of HOUSE, and yet – BASH cannot be defined by previous works and authors! Uniquely and organically original, succulently tart, Bartos’ characters prism themselves in the setting of the violent and corrupt state hospital for the criminally insane with characters out of The Garden of Good and Evil. Not since Alan Arkin in MASH have I met such great characters.
BASH hovers then crashes, spins and rewinds, a novel to compelling that it levitates out of the reader’s hands!
Doc Kerrigan, a psychiatrist at the Bay Area State Hospital (BASH), NC, is on the spot when one of his patients kills a hospital staff member and buries him on the grounds. Kerrigan steals the file and checks his notes frantically: did he miss anything?
Chief Lyle Dawkins, head of security at BASH seems to be the only one worried about the meth and crack seeping into the hands of the hospital’s patients, who turn into killers on the volatile drugs. Administration has turned a blind eye. When Ash Roper, an ex-vet, whose small town paper Charley Town, needs a good story, he approaches Dawkins. Roper senses a story, smells it on Dawkin’s face. Roper convinces Dawkins to sneak him into the hospital for one night, so that Roper can tell the story of what is really happening – for except for a few like Doc Kerrigan, the corruption is coming from inside, from the Administration itself. Ash’s wife, Sally J, still in love with her first love Roswell, is against the plot – she loves Ash more than Roswell and knows that Ash’s PTSD can be triggered at any time, and put him in danger. But Charley Town is going under, and Roper and Sally J need a good story for the paper to sell. Ash enters BASH with the help of Dawkins and the nightmare begins.
Then there is Alyse, the new weather girl, who predicts that Hurricane Cleo is going to hit the South Carolina low country head on. She’s a brand new classy looking girl, but everyone knows she has no idea about the weather. The other stations make her a laughing stock when they clearly state that Hurricane Cleo is no threat – she’s heading in the opposite direction. Alyse knows better – she’s done her homework.
Through the salient voice of Doc Kerrigan, who smokes pot, drinks heavily, and is a talented blues pianist, and an astute psychiatrist, the corruption of BASH and its bureaucratic insanity voices over the violence of the patients. Ash Roper, a man with hopes and dreams and a wife he adores, gets stuck incarcerated by the administration in a facility that he might not survive. For Chief Dawson has a heart attack the day that he admits Roper and the administration, knowing that Roper is a reporter, won’t release him. They have to watch their nefarious backs.
Gloriously satiric while simultaneously real, magnificently written, BASH offers a view of life in HELL. Funny, tragic, full of characters human and quirky, evil and good, and some just loony, Bartos turns up the heat in a novel that conflagrates and sparks.
Great read. Don’t miss this one!
Bash is available for purchase at Amazon.com and other booksellers.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A” – Ava
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own.