Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Bestseller Moore (Secondhand Souls) spoofs hard-boiled detective fiction in this irreverent send-up set in 1947 San Francisco. One evening, a dame named Stilton, who has "the kind of legs that kept her butt from resting on her shoes," walks into Sal's Saloon, where she meets bartender Sammy "Two-Toes" Tiffin. Sammy soon falls madly in love with Stilton, and then she disappears. Meanwhile, Sal Gabelli, the saloon's proprietor, orders Sammy to provide a bevy of broads for an Air Force general in command of a base in Roswell, N.Mex., who needs the women for an event at the Bohemian Club camp in redwood country. Sammy's subsequent discovery of Sal's snake-bitten corpse in the stock room and the arrival of men in black suits wearing sunglasses complicate matters. From there, things just get stranger in this work that puts an amusing spin on the noir subgenre. An author's note gives fair warning of the characters' era-appropriate language and attitudes, which may be disturbing to some readers. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, DeFiore and Co. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A regular joe stirs up a whole pot of trouble when he meets a damsel in distress.Renowned satirist Moore (Secondhand Souls, 2015, etc.) offers up a soft-boiled take on the hard-boiled tradition personified by the likes of Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler in this messy, comic mystery that often goes off the rails. The book does offer a fascinating setting in San Francisco circa 1947, a throwback to a city the author clearly knows and loves. Our palooka of a protagonist is Sammy "Two Toes" Tiffin, a partially lame grifter who tends bar at Sal's Saloon between various schemes. Sammy gets more than he bargained for when a spectacular blonde "tasty bit of trouble" named Stilton wanders into his joint. Before you know it, Sammy has the hots for "the Cheese," a jones that brings him all manner of trouble. The book employs no end of snappy dialogue straight out of a Jimmy Cagney movie, but the device can't save it from its meandering, distracted plot. In addition to the Cheese, we meet General Remy, a conspiring bureaucrat on leave from Roswell Army Air Field; "The Kid," a profane rug rat Sammy employs from time to time; Eddie Moo Shoes, Sammy's entree into Chinatown's underworld; Lone Jones, a good-natured boxer who insists he's not black; a dirty cop named Pookie O'Hara; and an assorted mix of gangsters, cabbies, drag queens, and other denizens of San Francisco. Moore's introduction of an interrupting, semiomniscient second narrator between Sammy's first-person tale can be jarring, even if it is explained late in the book. The novel finally coalesces in its back half as Sammy invades a shady cabal called the Bohemian Club to rescue the Cheese, pretty much from herself, and they both get a surprise when they run across General Remy's secret, all while being chased by mysterious "men in black." What results is a kindred spirit to Richard Brautigan's Dreaming of Babylon: A Private Eye Novel 1942 (1977).A frantically comic tale of guys and dolls that shoots and just misses. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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