First off, thanks to everyone who recommended this book to me after reading my review of Bloodeye: Paul Nelson, Matthew Pontiff, Charlene Cocrane, Dan Schwent... my apologies to anyone I missed. I probably wouldn't have found this one otherwise, since I missed it on NetGalley.
Deadlift is thus far my second favorite read of 2014. The only book I enjoyed more this year was James Newman's Animosity. This novella's premise is one of the most original ideas I've come across. Because of the unique concept here, Deadlift is far from predictable, and that was definitely one of my favorite parts about reading it. I had no idea where Saunders was going and was able to just kick back and savor the journey. The length was perfect, too. How Saunders managed to pack so much content into such a short piece is beyond me. 77 pages of pure, unadulterated story. No filler. No BS. Every word counts and carries weight. Each sentence is razor sharp. Every paragraph is delivered with succinct precision. I'm once again in awe of the author's machine-gun-fire prose. Plain and simple, this guy can write. If you haven't read any of his stuff, you're missing out on some serious talent.
Considering the subject matter, Deadlift is shockingly deep. All the characters feel real, but the main character--David Lowe--gets my deepest sympathy, which is strange, considering the book begins by informing us that Lowe has hired a hitman to murder his wife. I'm a big fan of characters that are not cut-and-dry good or bad. And, while I do not condone the character's actions, I believed his motivations. I don't think I've ever read a book wherein the MC is a strong man, and I found it to be a refreshing change from your average everyman. David Lowe is no John Smith (a male version of a Mary Sue). Otaku and Harmon were equally well drawn, as was the concept behind the mask. Speaking of the mask, that shizzle was creepy, yo!
Saunders handles the subject matter believably, as well. Meaning, though I don't know jack squat about weight lifting, I believe that that the author did his research. Saunders also managed to make entertaining information I'd normally find boring.
In summation: Craig Saunders is now a new favorite author of mine. I will be devouring his back catalog and chomping at the bit for his new releases. If anyone has any other recommendations of his work, please comment on this review. Deadlift is an easy 5-star read, so buy it. Like, yesterday.