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Flanagan's snarkily entertaining second novel (after A&R) is a smorgasbord of colorful personalities and riotous events that would only be slightly less at-home on a reality TV show. Bobby Kahn—a hotshot young TV exec whose first big hit was the game show I'll Eat Anything!—is fired after a scandal flares up when it's discovered that the producers rigged his latest reality show. Desperate to find another job before news of his firing spreads, Bobby accepts an offer to run King Cable, a family-owned and operated enterprise located in New Bedlam, R.I. Leaving the big city and having to downsize his ambition are bad enough, but managing and trying to subvert the egotistical whims of the King family heirs who run the network's three channels (one channel is dedicated to comic books) proves the greatest challenge. Though MTV senior vice president Flanagan is wryly philosophical about popular television's influence and base delights, he still manages to savagely skewer the medium. Granted, Flanagan's humor sometimes degenerates into mean-spiritedness (one character dies after his urine is accidentally administered intravenously), but his take on television's pathological weirdness is fun, fast-paced and unexpectedly endearing. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Flanagan has authored a book on the band U2, a collection of conversations with musicians, and one novel, A & R. However, his current position of senior vice president of MTV International is the ultimate qualification for writing his newest novel. Flanagan creates his own brand of clever prose by blending his industry knowledge with pop-culture references and even metaphors. The result is the story of Bobby Kahn, a hotshot New York television executive fired from his job and forced to run a struggling cable company in a small New England town. In addition to distributing basic cable to a part of New England, King Cable has three of its own channels, each run by one of the owners, who also happen to be quarreling siblings. Kahn is charged with the impossible job of reviving these channels and their shows, which would be more at home on public access. In little time, the company is flourishing, thanks to Kahn's creative exploitation of what few resources the company actually has, such as Bonanzareruns and employees with encyclopedic knowledge of comic books. A well-written, entertaining, and genuinely sincere comedy; recommended for all public libraries.