by Moore, Christopher

On the streets of post-World War II San Francisco, a smitten barkeeper and unofficial fixer-for-hire investigates his paramour's disappearance amid a series of weird events involving an unidentified flying object and a mysterious plane crash.

*Starred Review* San Francisco, 1947. Bartender Sammy Tiffin falls head-over-heels in love with a beautiful girl named Stilton (like, she explains, the cheese). Sammy's boss, the revolting Sal Gabelli, is working on a special project for an Air Force muckety-muck that involves Sammy rounding up wholesome girls and hooking them up with members of the powerful Bohemian Club. Through no fault of Sammy's, Stilton-or, as Sammy affectionately calls her, the Cheese-winds up in serious danger, and Sammy is prepared to wreak whatever havoc is necessary to save her. That's the bare-bones story of Moore's weird and oddly hilarious new novel, which also features sunglasses-wearing government agents, a rogue black mamba snake, a helpful madam, and a mysterious object that fell out of the sky in a place called Roswell. This isn't just a spoof of the kind of noir that Thompson, Cain, and Goodis were writing in the 1940s and '50s; hiding behind those trappings is a pedal-to-the-metal, exquisitely written comic romp through a neon-lit San Francisco that may never have actually existed, but that, in Moore's supremely talented hands, sure feels like it could have. The scene in the diner, where the Cheese and her pal call out food orders, is by itself funny enough to have you snorting in public. So beware: you probably won't get through this one without making a fool of yourself. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

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, w e 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 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2019 Follett School Solutions