Book Review: The Blade This Time by John Bassoff

book cover for jon bassoff's the blade this time1
© Darkfuse, 2017.


“A man wakes to find himself below ground in the abandoned subway stations of New York City. He has no idea how he got there, no idea who he is. In his pocket he finds only a wad of blood-stained cash and a deck of playing cards.

Once above ground, he rents out a cheap apartment, previously occupied by an enigmatic artist named Max Leider who’d left most everything behind—books, clothes, personal letters. But most peculiar are a series of paintings, each one of a mysterious woman hidden behind a curtain.

Without an identity of his own, the man becomes fascinated with Leider. He begins wearing his clothes. He begins painting on his canvases. He begins taking on his obsessions. But as his persona fully transforms into Max Leider, he will find some horrifying truths about the artist…and himself.” (Source: Goodreads)


The Blade This Time is the first work I’ve read by Jon Bassoff and I’m not entirely sure what type of taste that leaves in my mouth. I have rather high expectations when I open a book and based on what other readers have said about his work, I expected something completely and totally different. Needless to say, I feel a bit disappointed by this book.

If you judge a book based on its synopsis, The Blade This Time appears as a book cataloging the spiraling descent of a young man into insanity that is fed by the lingering presence of an artist and a woman that the two share an obsession with. While Bassoff nails the psychotic side of the main character’s decline, everything else feels off the mark. In particular, and to quote another review by author Michael Patrick Hicks, “this is a slow, psychological work of dark fiction, but it never really picks up or leads to any particular revelations.”

Therein lies my issue with this book. It’s a story, but there is no climax, no build-up, nothing. As a reader, I felt like I was simply along for the ride through a psychopath’s daily musings. There was no sense of need and I had to push myself to finish it.

I would like to thank Darkfuse, the author, and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC for purpose of unbiased review.

Rating: 💀💀

Liked it? Take a second to support Acanthea Grimscythe on Patreon!