Saturday, March 20, 2010

The California Roll by John Vorhaus

Book description:
Meet Radar Hoverlander, a witty, gifted con artist with the mind of David Mamet, the voice of Tom Robbins, and the morals of a sailor on shore leave.

What do the Merlin Game, the Penny Skim, the Doolally Snadoodle, and the Afterparty Snuke have in common? They’re all the work of world-class con artist and master bafflegabber Radar Hoverlander. Radar’s been “on the snuke” since childhood, but he’s still looking for his California Roll, the one big scam that’ll set him up in sushi for life.

Trouble arrives in the stunning, sassy package of Allie Quinn—either the last true innocent or a con artist so slick she makes Radar look like a Quaker. Radar’s hapless sidekick, Vic Mirplo, a lovable loser who couldn’t con a kid out of a candy cane, thinks Radar’s being played. But if love is blind, it’s also deaf, dumb and stupid, and before Radar knows it, he’s sucked into a vortex of double-, triple-, quadruple-crosses that’ll either net him his precious California Roll or put him in a hole in the ground.

This book was a fast moving, slick romp though the mysterious underworld of grifters and con men. The prose was colorful and convoluted, much like the patter of a street hustler running a game of three card monte- give the subject matter, completely appropriate! I found the book a little hard to get into at first, but gradually got the hang of Radar's speech and thoughts, and found myself just letting go to enjoy the ride. As the novel built to a complicated climax involving double cross on top of double cross, I found myself unable to put the book down. Well written and engaging, this book was a fast and enjoyable read.

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