From: Kevin Burton Smith (kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 11 Jun 2009

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    Gonzalo wrote:

    > The humorous parts that did work for me were mostly those in which
    > the main character exhibited more wit than what you'd expect from
    > someone with his lowlife history, such as the imaginary dialogue
    > with his boss at the beginning of the story or some of the quips and
    > barbs he dispenses throughout the novel. In any event, I thought it
    > was an entertaining read even if it shows more promise than actual
    > delivery.

    That's what got me, too, and why I said I was disappointed by the book; not just pissed off. The author, despite himself, does show promise. Sometimes, out of the blue, something pops out of his protagonist Frankie Avicious' mouth that is so incongruous it's hilarious. Like, when in the middle of everything, just as he's about to murder someone, he starts spouting off about the Electoral College and universal health care to his potential victim.


    It's a head snapping twist. Totally implausible, of course, but very funny, in that context. But he's not content to stop there -- Flexer works it into the ground, riffing on education, government spending and other pet peeves for almost a page, like some junior high student padding out his overdue civics paper. What should have been a quick snappy one-liner or two becomes a WTF-like treatise on politics that flattens the humour pretty effectively. It's the sort of thing an editor should have reined in. If it was edited.

    The whole book is riddled with scenes like that. Unexpected excess can be funny, but when the excess goes way past the funny point, the reader is left with just excess.

    And Mark wrote:

    > Damn, Kevin, you make him sound like the GG Allin of noir. Of
    > course, some people really liked GG Allin.

    I was actually thinking Robert Leslie Bellem, whom I like quite a bit in fact, but yeah, that's exactly the type of "alternative" writing I'm talking about here. But whereas I think (I hope) Bellem was putting us on, I'm not sure that's the case here.

    And whereas there was something sort of good-natured and goofy about Dan Turner, Frankie Avicious (whom you'll be shocked, I tell you, shocked, to discover is vicious!) just seems mean-hearted.

    To each his own, I guess. But the real irony, of course, might be that for all the flag waving others have done here, my more negative view of the book on this list may actually entice just as many readers here to read it as they did.

    Kevin Burton Smith I blog; therefore I am. http://thrillingdetectiveblog.blogspot.com

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