• Sock
  • Sock


4.0 13
by Penn Jillette

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Twisting the buddy cop story upside down and inside out, Penn Jillette has created the most distinctive narrator to come along in fiction in many years: a sock monkey called Dickie. The sock monkey belongs to a New York City police diver who discovers the body of an old lover in the murky waters of the Hudson River and sets off with her best friend to find her

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Twisting the buddy cop story upside down and inside out, Penn Jillette has created the most distinctive narrator to come along in fiction in many years: a sock monkey called Dickie. The sock monkey belongs to a New York City police diver who discovers the body of an old lover in the murky waters of the Hudson River and sets off with her best friend to find her killer. The story of their quest swerves and veers, takes off into philosophical riffs, occasionally stops to tell a side story, and references a treasure trove of 1970's and 1980's pop culture.

Sock is a surprising, intense, fascinating piece of work.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jillette (the speaking half of the renowned Penn & Teller magician/comedy team) opts to narrate his eccentric debut thriller from the perspective of the protagonist's sock monkey, Dickie, who constantly refers to his owner-a member of the New York City police scuba diving unit-as the Little Fool. Little Fool hauls up a woman's corpse one day during a dive; on land, he recognizes her as Nell, a stripper he once dated. She is, it seems, the most recent victim of a serial killer. Little Fool tells Nell's best friend, a rampantly gay hairdresser named Tommy; they form a platonic bond as they search the city for the murderer, whose name is Smitty and who fancies himself a writer. Toward the end of the book, Little Fool himself unexpectedly takes over the narrative duties from Dickie in order to do a fast wrapup. Jillette's voice, as expressed through the persona of a stuffed puppet, is by turn folk philosophical, ranting, rageful, insightful and-often-annoying. As narrator, the monkey cannot help overshadowing the novel's other characters, and the plot is more perfunctory than inspired. A lot more dialogue and a lot less monkey would have strengthened the book considerably; as it is, it fails to work either as a literary experiment or as a straight thriller. Agent, Dan Strone. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Take one serial killer who is looking for God in all the wrong places and one slightly demented sock monkey narrator. Mix with two heroes: one an NYPD diver; the other, a gay hairdresser. Stir in hundreds of pop culture references and a heaping cup of scatological sex. The result is the first novel from the talking half of the magician duo Penn and Teller. Fun and funny hip, it is a stream-of-consciousness meditation on life, death, love, sex, friendship, and the dangers of loneliness. Jillette's libertarian, antireligious bias will likely offend conservative readers as the shtick in his magic act does the prudish. Fans of the duo and their warped sense of humor will line up to read the book. For public libraries.-Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Debut solo novel by magician Jillette, half of the Penn-Teller team that has published three nonfiction works (Penn and Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends, etc., not reviewed). The narrator is Dickie, a sock monkey owned by the Little Fool, Clayton Fraser Benz, a six-feet-four police officer who is part of a dive team and spends his working hours in a rubber suit searching through sewage and river water. That is already far more interesting that Sock's telling of the first ten pages, which are dreadfully dull. This sock monkey chatters about everything, tirelessly, exhaustingly, mind-numbingly. Then the monkey prose lifts and the detail gets dreadfully gripping. "You don't find many dead people with two-inch visibility. So, he felt for dead people. I feel dead people. Feel me. Touch me." And these decomposing dead people are ones you'd rather not see. The crime: Little Fool dredges Nell (Helen Cynthia Parenteau) out of the river. She's a former stripper and law student he used to have heavy sex with in law school. Stabbed repeatedly, she looks punctured by a baseball bat, but was dead, he knows, before thrown into the river. Long before they split up, Nell had led him into the ministrations of her pedicurist, a drag queen named Tommy who spent his last three teenage years as a woman before becoming a gay man. Throughout the story, Sock monkey and Little Fool offer long, well-written, truthful/cynical digressions on death, Disney, and Ding Dongs that only half-relate to the plot and that many will skim. Tommy is the great gossip through whom Little Fool hopes to find Nell's killer, since Tommy can name all of Nell's later boyfriends. So they partner up. Since the novel is something ofa philosophical sex/murder whodunit, as more victims arise, the question becomes: Who kills people at the exact moment they start thinking about literature? Originality plus. But a hard read.

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.54(d)

Read an Excerpt


Sewn Under a Bad Sign

Bad monkey wammerjammer. Sewn in a crossfire hurricane of nee-dles and pins. An imaginary friend's howlings in the driving rain of the washing machine. Don't you wanna live with me?

Look at my eyes. Look at them. I told you to look at my eyes!

Look at my eyes! These aren't giggly, jokey eyes to make babies giggle. My button eyes are like a shark's eyes. Buttons from a sharkskin suit. My eyes have been fiddled with by a hustler. Nervously tapped by a bad man. My eyes are worn right in the center from the tapping of a diamond pinky ring. It was his gambler's tell. When the owner of that expensive but cheap suit was lying, he'd click click click click his flawed diamond against the buttons of his suit jacket.

And he was lying all the time. Click click click click click. Those buttons are my eyes! They were always my eyes. They saw everything from the coat of a wheeler-dealer: Mr. Ferris, the big wheel down at the carny, Doctor, my eyes have seen the pain of a lying diamond. Black eyes. No emotion. Predator. Predator sock monkey. Bad monkey.

Look at my skin. It wasn't born from a clean, new sock. No way. This is a sock that has been used. Look at my mouth. My mouth sheathed a real heel. A man's heel. It rammed against the end of a steel-toed boot. That makes a monkey tough. Very tough. There's human blood in my mouth. Blister blood. And foot sweat. I taste foot sweat all the time. Lumberjack foot sweat. I'm worn. I've been around. My mouth has walked forty-seven miles of barbed wire. Bad monkey.

And the toe of that sock skin. You know where that is. You know what that toe became, don't you? You have your little baby names for it, but you know what it really is. Yup, it's that toe that kicked me in the you-know-where. My very fiber is a kick in the behind. That's what I am. I am a kick in the behind. Bad. That's me. Kick it. Kick the bad monkey in the behind. Kick it.

Kick it. Turn it up. Louder, louder. The Little Fool never played Mr. Rogers pap in the Little Fool's bedroom. This ain't no nursery, this is our room, brothers and sisters, and we kick out the jams. We play the radio. We play it loud. Kick it. Going faster miles an hour. The Top 40, the FM college station. Janey said when she was just five years old, Little Fool never once gave it away. The Little Fool taking it. It's all pumping in. But do you like American music best? Mon-key?—Records. Eight tracks. Cassettes. CDs. MP3s.-The Little Fool always listens and I always remember. Everything. He left the music on in the room. He didn't turn the music off, ever. Even when he wasn't there. Even when he slept. And he left the refrigerator door open. Bad monkey. Bad rocking monkey.

Bad to the nylons stuffing my innards. I'm not stuffed with old pjs. There's no reassuring baby smell deep in me. No way. And I'm not stuffed with sensible, modest pantyhose that got, oh, pshaw, a run. No! I'm stuffed with nylons. Nylon stockings. Modern petro-leum, chemical, artificial nylons that were held on with black lace garter belts around the legs of a woman. A woman. A woman with legs up to there. Not a lady. Not a child. A woman. That's what my stuffing is. My stuffing smells like cheap perfume. Cheap perfume that was put on those shapely upper thighs. That's not where you put perfume. Bad monkey.

Lumberjack sock stuffed with a woman's nylons. Yeah, the old lady washed them. She washed me all. I was created clean, but that smell is deep. Deep. Deep. It's a smell of the soul, and my soul is a lumberjack's sole. I've been worn. My soul has walked miles of barbed wire to smell the nylons of my innards.

Hustler eyes, lumberjack skin, the heart of a woman's legs, and a grandmother's spoiling love. I got it all, baby. I got it all, my little baby boy. Drool on me. Grab me. Carry me. Rip me apart. I'm a bad monkey.

The Little Fool calls me "Dickie." That's my name.

"Why do you call him 'Dickie'?" the parents ask.

"Because he's dickie colored," the Little Fool answers.

They laugh. They laugh at how cute the Little Fool is.

But he's lying. He learned how to he from my button eyes. He calls me "Dickie" because it's the baddest word he knows. And I'm the baddest wammerjammer monkey he will ever love.

He will rip me apart with his love. And he will grow big. He will be very big. And he will never forget me.

And I'll love him forever like a bad monkey. Like a very bad monkey.

Copyright 2004 by Penn Jillette

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4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just recently finished this book. I loved it! Kinda wished i didn't finished it. A sock monkey narrates a story about a guy and another guy solving mystery. Don't worry the sock monkey is not your average 5 yr old sock monkey but a grown boys sock monkey. Book is very good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To my surprise, Pen Gillette has written a brilliant novel! For fans of Penn and Teller's magic act and Showtime series 'Bulls**t' alike, this is a must read. It's Penn Gillette at his most cynical best. All that needs to be said is this: The novel is told from a sock monkey's point-of-view (that is to say the sock monkey's point-of-view-as-seen-through-the-point-of-view-of-Penn-Gillette's-poi nt-of-view.) A really intelligent mystery, SOCK is a great read for fans of the genre and the author. If you get it, you get it. If you don't get it, your brain hurts and it kind of leaves you feeling funny anyway. You can't lose!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Meet me at sss result one. ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you for telling me!! Nobody would tell me because i am 9 1/2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Curls up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your welcomr *smiles*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is plain and simple....boring. I was so disinterested I didn't read the last chapter. The characters are not engaging. If a meteor hit them, you wouldn't care. I really like Jillette but not as an author.