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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
With the brutal redneck sensibilities of a Charlie Huston novel (Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things, et al.) and the darkly comedic existential angst of crime fiction by Charles Willeford, The Ethical Assassin by David Liss is a laugh-out-loud masterwork of a mystery that explores, among other things, animal rights, vegetarianism, methamphetamine addiction, and the ideology of morality-based vigilantism.
Hoping to sve up enough money to go to college, Lemuel Altick is selling encyclopedias door-to-door throughout rural Florida over the summer. His life is irrevocably changed when, just as he is closing a sale with some down-and-out trailer park residents, a gunman storms in and shoots them dead. The fates of Altick and this strangely introspective, white-haired assassin (a "post-Marxist vigilante") become intertwined, as both men try to cover up their involvement in the murder. At the same time, they struggle to unravel a complex moneymaking scheme involving a crooked police chief (who guzzles Yoo-hoo mixed with whiskey and sports a mullet), the pedophilic head of the encyclopedia distribution company, and a ruthless thug named Kenny Rogers whose nickname is, you guessed it, the Gambler. Throw in a formerly conjoined twin who communicates with her deceased other half, the I Ching, a nightmarish hog farm, and an inhumane animal testing facility, and you've got yourself an unforgettable story!
As irreverent as it is enlightening, The Ethical Assassin is equal parts mystery, thriller, philosophical entreaty, coming-of-age tale, and dark comedy. Like Pulp Fiction meets Catcher in the Rye, this is a singularly unique storytelling tour de force that readers will not soon forget -- a work of pure twisted genius. Paul Goat Allen