Publisher: Black Swan (2005)
The book opens with Joey Perrone being thrown head first off a cruise liner into the Atlantic Ocean by her husband Chaz for reasons that aren’t immediately clear. Unfortunately for Chaz Joey survives the fall and her stint in the sea. Rather than inform the authorities Joey, her rescuer and an assortment of friends and family have loads of fun extracting revenge by playing with Chaz’ mind and generally making him regret being alive.
I found this book by a circuitous route while searching for something a little lighter than normal that my face to face book group hadn’t read before. I tried half a dozen books that I was assured are humours and found, not surprisingly, that it’s not only beauty that ’tis in the eye of the beholder.
I wouldn’t describe the book as laugh out loud funny but it did have me smiling a most of the time. I can’t think of another book to compare it to but it reminded me of one of my favourite movies, Fargo. It’s the same kind of satire and has the same delicious inevitability in the unfolding downfall of the loser husband. The people who populate the book, good and bad alike, are larger than life and full of eccentricities but are credible within the context of the story. Most of them are also very, very likeable. Even the guy who collects roadside death markers.
Even though I’m something of an ageing hippy I found the environmental overtones a bit obvious but they’re a minor feature of the book so not too much of a problem. Despite what it says on the book jacket I don’t know that it qualifies as crime fiction (there’s not much of a puzzle after all) but it’s a sharply written romp of a yarn in the best sense of the word and offers that totally satisfying feeling that comes from a bad guy getting what’s coming to him.
My rating 4/5