Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pg. 99: "Snitch Jacket"

Snitch Jacket "is a thriller packed full of rich situations and even richer characters, and the fact that it is also very funny does not detract from the life-and-death action," Matthew Lewin wrote in the Guardian: "This is a remarkably assured debut from ... Goffard, who writes like an angel and plots like a demon."

About the book, from the U.K. publisher:
Benny Bunt is an ex-speed freak, a helplessly dominated husband, a misfit on the sun-bleached, fog-drenched streets of Southern California, and a barfly who makes pocket money snitching on his friends. You will like him.

‘Everybody knows that California sunshine is the world’s loneliest light,’ says Benny, who inhabits an underworld of desperados and grotesques and spends much of his free time at the Greasy Tuesday, a squalid neighbourhood dive teeming with legends.

One night, one of these legends walks through the door: Gus ‘Mad Dog’ Miller, a huge, tattoo-laden Vietnam vet who sports a necklace of severed ears and is said to have lobotomised a gang of Viet Cong with a single chopstick. Benny soon finds himself entranced by this twisted Falstaffian personality. Six months later, Benny is arrested on suspicion of double murder after attending the freak ‘Howling Head’ festival in the Mojave Desert.

Goffard, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, now lends his considerable talent to fiction, bringing to life the darker side of west coast counter-culture through a colourful array of bizarre, ribald characters. Snitch Jacket will be a delight for fans of Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen and Hunter S Thompson, and Benny Bunt will definitely give the Coen brothers’ The Dude a run for his money.
Read the Page 99 Test: Snitch Jacket.

--Marshal Zeringue