Monday, March 27, 2006

Suicide Squeeze -- Victor Gischler

When I heard that the paperback of Victor Gischler's Suicide Squeeze was out, I figured it was about time to get busy and read the hardback that's been sitting on my shelves almost since it was brand new. I'm glad I did.

The book's main character, Conner Samson, is down on his luck. Perpetually. He doesn't have the dough to pay for a beer because he never wins his bets on baseball games. The woman he loves, Tryanny Jones is married to someone else and is a sex addict. About the only man she doesn't want to have sex with is Conner.

Conner's life is about to change, but his luck isn't going to improve. What happens to him involves a boat he's supposed to repossess, Japanese gangsters, a former secret agent who's as dangerous as the gangsters, a huge collector named Otis, whose boss is Rocky Big, comic book nerds, and an assortment of other things, in a plot that's impossible for me to describe. Let's just say that everybody is out to double-cross everybody else, and kill anyone that gets in the way, to gain possession of a baseball card.

Being a baseball card collector myself, I have to love a book in which the mcguffin is a one-of-a-kind card signed by Joe Dimaggio, Billy Wilder, and Marilyn Monroe. It's worth whatever some sucker will pay for it, maybe a million bucks, and it comes with a signed personal letter written by Monroe. The people Gischler writes about will do just about anything to get it.

There's lots of funny stuff in the novel, but the climactic shoot-out is one of the bloodiest I've read in years. It's not funny at all. Well, not unless you're thinking that Gischler is messing with you when he says, "The weapon sang, a Wagnerian shotgun opera, the sound track to hell." Because Gischler's next novel, coming out in April, is, you guessed it Shotgun Opera. I plan to read that one, too.

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