Review: Joy and Pain (John P. Burdi)*

April 3, 2020Hels

“Perry thought his life was becoming better because he was in control, but he was becoming less human by the day.”

– John P. Burdi, Joy and Pain

Joy and Pain
Author: John P. Burdi
Genre: Psychological thriller
Page Count: 256
Published: 29 October 2019

My rating:

Plot:7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)
Characters:5 out of 10 stars (5 / 10)
Ending:6 out of 10 stars (6 / 10)

Despair is a dangerous thing. At Brine County Mall, three disgruntled workers and the customers they despise face life-threatening consequences when they turn against each other. Perry Miller recently graduated from college and has zero prospects in life: no career, no love life, and no hope. His part-time job at the mall is the bane of his existence. The mall is run by two brothers; one has brains, the other brute. Both are extremely dangerous.

One day Perry considers killing a troublesome customer. With his anger mounting, he befriends two other workers who share his frustration. That’s where the real trouble begins in this psychological thriller.

Joy and Pain is an exploration of one man’s descent into a life of violence. Perry was a really unlikeable protagonist, which I personally found made the story more interesting because I found I was against him rather than rooting for him.

While the storyline itself is easy to follow, time passes very quickly in the book, and as there are a lot of characters it was sometimes hard to keep track. I found the characters very easy to visualise as the writing was very descriptive.

The content is quite graphic at times, and occasionally felt a bit far-fetched, but I can see how it was necessary to the story.

I felt the writing was quite stilted at times and didn’t always flow very well, and it wasn’t a book I could race through.

I thought Burdi had captured how Perry’s destructive and immoral thoughts had taken root really well, and showed how all it took was a nudge from Chris and Freddie for him to reveal his true nature.

Joy and Pain is a really unique, intriguing debut novel from John P. Burdi, and I’m really interested to see what he writes next.


*I was kindly sent a copy of the book by the author for review

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