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Posted February 20, 2014
Posted September 23, 2011
Thrift Store Bounty Hunters (The Red Fox Series) is a completely refreshing take on the "losers as heroes" canon, and I have to say, I can't think of anyone in the last decade who has done it better than Michael Lamendola. Many have tried, few have succeeded. Lamendola's writing is unexpectedly hilarious, the comedic timing is perfect, and he is a skilled storyteller.
I really think this book gave me 300 individual laughs and five fits of uncontrollable cluster laughter. Lamendola is a funny, funny guy. Well, when one of his main characters carries a "Hello Kitty" billfold, you just know there's trouble ahead.
The basic story line is that Buddy Boy, loser number one, joins forces with loser guy number two, an older guy named Sal, who is his best friend with delusions of being some kind of private eye. This is the second book Lamendola has penned (The first being the well-received Dirty Work), and a third one is reaching for your ereader as I write. No date, yet, but it can't happen fast enough for me! Seriously, this writer should have a heavy case of Hollywood about to descend upon him because this book is a fast-track film all day long.
Lamendola's very special gift is his ability to take a boringly average situation, like having a drink in a bar, and turn it into a Wild West review of galloping good griefs, ouches, and oh-no-don't-do-that moments. Two of the funniest scenes in the book are what I've dubbed the "last rites" scene and the "Patricia moment." You'll know them when you read them, and feel free to thank me later for suggesting this book! This is a reader's book in the sense that Lamendola loves to entertain, and he never misses his step. But it's also a writer's book, and as a writer myself, I can tell you this Lamendola guy is a natural. He's got the gift, as another friend of mine puts it.
The book's two loser characters are so without guile, so nearly innocent of the cause and effects law of nature and so damn lucky, except when they're unlucky, that you fall in love with both of them despite saying "Ewwww!" the whole time. Buddy Boy appears to be getting over a broken heart and drinking himself into oblivion, and Sal hasn't had a clue about very much of anything since Mr. Gorbachev took down that wall. So these two evaluate every assignment from the well-earned loser perspective of "what have we got to lose?"
Plenty, but that doesn't stop them. I liked how Lamendola gives his losers a conscience, however simplistic their right and wrong quotient is. That simplicity, that lack of agenda and guile---that's what makes this novel so refreshing. It's what you'd expect from a couple of guys out to make a few bucks doing something that sounds thrilling and exciting and for which they have almost zero aptitude.
How they turn that lack of skill into a non-stop series of laugh-out-loud absurdities posing in drag as serious business is the secret of Lamendola's complete mastery of the form. Everything is spoken exactly as one imagines these two losers speaking, everything they do is predictably loony with unpredictable results, and how they manage to survive themselves and grab your heart at the same time is Lamendola's brilliance.
Let's see...the HOLLYWOOD sign has nine monster-sized letters sitting high up on a hill overlooking pure, sun-drenched, entertaining craziness. And, wow...LAMENDOLA...nine letters. Don't forget who your fans are, Budd
Posted July 19, 2011
No text was provided for this review.