By Jack Remick
Publisher: Quartet Global Books
Publication Date: October 2017
Genre: Women’s Literary Fiction
Irven DeVore, an evolutionary biologist, writes that "Males are a breeding experiment run by females." What if, in fact, women ran everything? What if women rejected the culture of rape and violence to take control of their lives in the safety of the Citadels? What if women could exist without males? CITADEL is a metafictional, apocalyptic story braided into a contemporary post-lesbian novel built on genetics.
"I loved the book and I'm suggesting it to all the writers, editors and women I know as a must read. You blew me away... the book drew me in completely... great experience!
I'm not sure how you managed to come up with this... let alone research it... a story usually follows one or two Characters... I found myself following the writer, the editor, the publisher, not to mention the Characters in the book... and never got lost, never ended up wondering who someone was or why they did that? I read the book in short spurts and longer chunks depending on opportunity... but never had a problem of falling back into the story... you had me from page one to the end. Great job" -- Wally Lane, filmmaker, screenwriter.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a sense of dread. I dream, and when I wake, I am sure it will be the day the world ends. Rose, my therapist, tells me more of her clients have apocalyptic dreams like mine. She doesn’t know what it means.
Yesterday at the beach as I watched the beach meat in their combat ritual, I had one of my visions of annihilation. There were four of them. Their sandy bodies glistened. Muscle and sweaty flesh silhouetted in an exploding sunset ripe with blood. Their overhand smashes and digs were laced with grunts and howls and the wail of loss. I imagined them still grinding one another to dust in the chaos of extinction. The shaven-headed one, the tall, muscular and vicious one spiked a set-up and the volleyball blasted his opponent in the face and he went down—on his back, on the sand. Bleeding. The fallen enemy crawled off the pitch, his shamed partner beside him. Mr. V., the Victor, taunted the losers ‘you bunch of pansy asses.’
Daiva startled me when she lay back on her towel
groaning. I asked her if she was all right.
“I’m a day early,” she said. “Should know better than to wear white. What did I miss?”
“A little blood. One good spike.”
Daiva wore a white one-piece suit. Hair bound up in a twist with a swan-comb. The setting sun burnished her hair.
I was going back to my ereader when Mr. V. knelt in the sand at my feet. I smeeled his sweat mixed with sea air and the odor of blood. It was the familiar scent of death and destruction that often crept into my dreams. Rose tells me that I have parosmia, a flaw in my brain that makes me smell odors that are not real. The scent pouring off Mr. V. was the scent that followed men like angry dogs chasing a wounded doe. He grasped the bloody volleyball against his crotch. Eyes closed, Daiva piped up, “Are they all this tall?”
“It’s an optical illusion,” I said. “At sunset they seem taller.”
“Do you suppose he shaves everywhere?”
“That teeny-weeny crotch cloth won’t hide a single pube.”
“Tell him to stand up and strip off that speedo,” Daiva said.
“Hey,” Mr. V. said. “I’m right here.”
“We can smell you,” Daiva replied.
Mr. V. His eyes were deep wolf-gray, his mouth a pouty delicacy. I had tasted meat like that but never this one. He was persistent, and he didn’t back off as I scanned him. He liked the assessment so much he quivered. Silent. A horse at auction waiting a bid. His eyes tracked me up and down never veering above my breasts. Beach meat. Muscle and sand and blood and sweat. I had seen him before, but he always failed the wine test. I said, “What do you think of the 2025 Napa pressing of Pinot Picante?”
He got that what-the-fuck-are-you-talking-about scowl on his face.
“Wine,” I said. “Pinot Picante.”
“Oh, yeah, I had that a few times.”
Pinot Picante did not exist, so I went back to my ereader. Clara was hounding me to finish the next Pinnacle Romance. She wanted it edited and online now. Today. Not tomorrow. Mr. V. said,
“Hey, I kicked butt out there.”
“Yes you did,” Daiva said, “but we’re having our
Mr. V shot to his feet, bloodstained volleyball in his hands. Disgusted, he trotted off into the surf. The sunset was so intense, so red, the light seemed to burn through him. Daiva said,
“RER.” “What’s that?”
“Residual evolutionary response,” Daiva replied. “The Alpha male can’t tolerate things he can’t control and menses is our big mystery. Irven DeVore says males are a breeding experiment run by females. This guy has all the traits breeders cue on—muscles, physical presence, drive, power. He responds to the stimulus, in this case your breasts, your hips and thighs, your skin. The entire history of sexual selection is working itself out right here on this beach, Trisha. You’re a prime receptacle. You’re supposed to dive into bed with him, but you said no, so he’ll have to kill you.”
Mr. V., rising out of the sea, glistened. Golden. His thighs rippled. He was a glorious animal so locked into himself that a bloody tampon shut him down…you said no so he’ll have to kill you. I shuddered. What if I had taken him home? What if he did kill me?
I watched Mr. V. dash to the parking lot where he jumped into a black BMW.
“He drives a Beamer,” Daiva said. “Beamer means resources and resources fill out the evolutionary menu. Size, speed, resources. Why didn’t you take him up on it?”
“I have a few rules,” I said. “If they can walk, I look. If they can talk, I listen. If they make me laugh, I think about it. If they know good wine, I sometimes say yes.”
“That’s kind of picky. Why do you hunt here then?” “You can see the merchandise unwrapped.”
“You sure make those guys howl.” "Howl? Let’s head back.”
I rolled my beach towel and tucked it into my bag. Daiva followed. The hot sand felt good on my feet as we passed the volleyball court with its saga of blood and sweat. At the parking lot, I tossed my bag into the Z-Ray.
The afternoon sun gilded Daiva’s hair now. She was a real blonde. You can tell. Her skin was peachy and shone from the sunblock. She had indigo blue eyes.
Daiva had moved into the condo two weeks ago. She was always alone. No visitors. Her Southern California unenhanced trim and creamy skin made me jealous. The one thing that bothered me was the solitude. In two weeks, no one. I knew her name, Daiva Izokaitis, and I knew from her mail box that she was a doctor.
The drive through Latimer Canyon is idyllic in the early evening. Late gulls squawk, eucalyptus shadows stretch across the winding road, the Z Ray hisses on the pavement like a very beautiful red python. I love the car. I parked in my slot at the condo on Mesa Drive.
“Got time for a glass of Chardonnay?”
“I was going to ask you—I need to wash off the yuck first only my plumbing is out until Monday.”
“Sure, you can shower at my place.”
Amazon / Amazon Kindle / B&N
Jack Remick is the author of twenty books—novels, poetry, short stories, screenplays. He co-authored The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery with Robert J. Ray. His novel Gabriela and The Widow was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal as well as a finalist in Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. He reviews for the New York Journal of Books. He is a frequent guest and co-host on Michigan Avenue Media with Marsha Casper Cook. His novel Citadel, was featured in the July issue of the Australian magazine eYs.
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Have a book you’d like to suggest or one you’d like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.