Johnson, Jason 1969–
Johnson, Jason 1969–
During early career, worked as a bartender, car washer, supermarket employee, shoe salesman, waiter, courier, stonemason, chair-ride operator, painter, and decorator; worked for newspapers in Ireland, including the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph, and as news editor for the Irish Sunday People, until 2004; full-time writer, 2004—.
Wound Licker (novel), Blackstaff Press (Belfast, Northern Ireland), 2005.
Alina (novel), Blackstaff (Belfast, Northern Ireland), 2006.
Jason Johnson is a former journalist who left the world of reporting to become a full-time novelist in 2004. That year, he sold his debut work of fiction, Wound Licker. The book met with considerable critical praise. It centers on protagonist Fletcher Fee, a resident of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who has grown tired of the dismal world around him. Driven to act by unprovoked attacks on a teenage neighbor and the death of Karim, his only friend, Fee descends into retribution and violent reprisals that cannot be ignored by the police and that threaten an already shaky peace in the volatile environment of Belfast. Pursued by police and paramilitary groups alike, Fee discovers a well-concealed network of lies and corruption that jeopardizes any prospects of peace in Northern Ireland.
In Alina, Johnson's second novel, Harry Sender finds himself embroiled in the world of online pornography and the search for a missing Web site performer. Paid a handsome sum by the owner of the Web site, the down-on-his-luck Sender is soon liberated from his odious job as a phone company customer service representative. In return, he must search for Alina, a performer on the sexually explicit site who was quickly falling in love with her boss. Accompanied by the hedonistic and pleasure-seeking Shuff Sheridan, a volatile thug and tough guy, Sender sets out from his home in Northern Ireland for Romania to look for Alina. In this violent world, Sender soon comes to realize that the Web site he once thought was harmless is in fact doing great harm to the women who work for it, and may well corrupt him irreversibly before his search for Alina is finished. A Bookseller reviewer called Sender's quest a "blackly comic journey." Johnson "delivers a climax as harrowing as one might hope to find in contemporary crime fiction," noted Booklist reviewer Frank Sennett.
Johnson garnered additional attention when he decided to auction off the opportunity to appear as a character in a forthcoming novel. "I heard someone had sold cameo roles in an independent movie to help with the funding. I figured I could offer someone much more than that in a novel," Johnson explained in an online interview for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). In the end, "I have some money which allows me more time to write, and they get to live forever," Johnson commented.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2007, Frank Sennett, review of Alina, p. 68.
Bookseller, September 22, 2006, review of Alina, p. 10.
M2 Best Books, October 2, 2006, "Author Auctions Chance to Feature in Next Novel," profile of Jason Johnson.
CBC.ca,http://www.cbc.ca/ (November 22, 2006), interview with Jason Johnson.
Wound Licker Web site,http://www.woundlicker.com (October 10, 2007).