One of the great things about reviewing books is being presented with a book you might not ordinarily have chosen and being completely blown away. Nancy Goats by Weston Ochse (pronounced Oaks) is one such book.
To go into too much detail would mar the impact of experiencing the story fresh without pre-conceptions. Nancy Goats follows Paco Le Poulet, a gay man born Brian Overstreet. He is content with his personal life and at a high point in his professional career on the runway. Things take a turn for the worse when he is grabbed off the street – by a group of men wearing Family Pain t-shirts – and is imprisoned at the behest of the group’s leader, Daddy Pain, an ex-special forces medic and martial arts enthusiast who uses his so-called ‘Goats’ in training his protégés. Paco is his latest recruit.
The twists and turns of the plot are handled adeptly and the characterisation is superbly nuanced, creating fully-rounded and believable characters. The prose is crisp, flowing and at times simply beautiful. The climax, equal parts horrifying and uplifting, leaves you with a sense of one journey ending as a new one begins.
Nancy Goats is essentially a story about the need to break free of the image and personae that we project to the people we interact with on a daily basis and discover the real person that lies beneath the manufactured facade. Highly recommended.