Monday, January 5, 2009

Suicide Squeeze by Victor Gischler (3/81)

C2005 304pages 4stars

Suicide Squeeze is a baseball term, which is very appropriate for this story in which the mayhem revolves around a one-of-a-kind baseball card. Teddy Folger is having a mid-life crisis. He torches his own strip mall to collect the insurance payment on his DiMaggio card and plans to sell it to the Japanese, who are rabid for Americana. Teddy also skips town without paying off his boat and thus adds a repo man to the madcap posse now after him.

I can’t remember if it was LT or Amazon that recommended this book to me. I had never ready any of Gischler’s books before but both he and this book have good reviews, so I decided to include it in my Hardboiled/Noir category.

This book is a wonderful romp. It contains all the prerequisites of the genre yet isn’t boring. I agree with a reviewer who commented that Gischler gives off a Carl Hiaasen vibe. I must give Gischler kudos for including both an art reception and a Star Trek convention in his story. Genius! I love the title. I thought it was slang for Russian roulette or something and I was very surprised to learn it was a baseball term.

When we first meet Joellen in the story I was giving Gischler credit for a strong female character but as the story progressed I felt she became increasingly less realistic. In fact, by the end she was just laughable, only I wasn’t laughing. So I took a star off my rating simply for Joellen.

Definitely suggest it for a Hardboiled/Noir fan.
Contains violence, language and some sex. Pretty standard for this genre, but I wanted to mention it.

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