RARA-AVIS: Gischler: Pistol Poets

From: Karin Montin ( kmontin@sympatico.ca)
Date: 20 Jun 2006

Thanks to an entry in Bill Crider's blog, I found out that Victor Gischler was giving away copies of his books to the first few people who wrote saying they'd never read anything by him. I was a lucky winner of the novel of my choice, and on the author's recommendation, I picked The Pistol Poets. Favourable comments in the Rara-Avis archives also helped sway me.

I think it was Miker who likened this book to Carl Hiaassen without the tree hugging. I happen to like Carl Hiaassen, at least in intermittent doses, and I liked this book. A lot happens very fast and some of it is very funny.

After being involved in killing a student during a robbery, a petty criminal seizes the victim's bus ticket and ID. They're both black and look kind of alike, so off he goes to study for a master's in poetry at an Oklahoma university. Talk about culture shock. He absconds with his boss's huge stash of coke, which he plans to sell to a dealer, if he can find one.

Meanwhile at the university, young woman dies, apparently of a drug overdose, in an instructor's bed. Rather than call an ambulance or the police, he buries her.

Things get pretty wild and drugs are the connection. There are some interesting characters, including a mysterious old man who wants a poetry tutor and insists on burying the dead woman, and a prof on sabbatical who's actually living in a campus building.

It was a good, fast read and I'll be putting his others, Gun Monkeys and Suicide Squeeze, on the library suggestion list.


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