Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pg. 69: Mark Haskell Smith's "Salty"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Mark Haskell Smith's Salty.

About the book, from the publisher:
Turk Henry is overweight, unemployed, and unafraid to have a cold beer for breakfast. He’s also a rock star (the bassist for the defunct megaplatinumselling Metal Assassin), married to a supermodel, and rich beyond his wildest dreams, and right now his pampered paunch is plopped on the beach in Phuket. Turk has discovered that Thailand is probably the last place a recovering sex addict should go on vacation, yet here he is, surrounded by topless groupies and haunted by the stares of hundreds of luscious bar girls. It is a catalytic environment cranked up to eleven. What would his therapist say?

Turk’s struggles with monogamy pale beside a greater challenge when his wife is abducted by a group of renegade, shipless Thai pirates. The U.S. government won’t help — they suspect the pirates are terrorists — and the law forbids Turk from paying the ransom. As Turk, his life skills limited to playing bass and partying, navigates the back alleys of Bangkok and the deadly jungles of Southeast Asia to save his wife, Salty heats up and sweats bullets.

Featuring skinflint American tourists, topless beaches, a hypochondriac U.S. government agent, suitcases loaded with cash, an overeager “full service” personal assistant, a horny Australian commando, inventive prostitutes, and an urbane pirate with a fetish for alabaster skin, this is a hilariously entertaining, thoroughly debauched novel — with a happy finish.
About the author, from his MySpace page:
I'm the author of three comic novels: Salty is the story of a pampered, paunchy rockstar bass player on vacation in Thailand and what happens to him when his wife is kidnapped by shipless Thai pirates. Author Tom Drury said "Graham Greene meets the Marx Brothers and the result is Salty, Mark Haskell Smith's riveting new novel about unquiet Americans on the loose in Thailand." Delicious is the story of a battle between local Hawaiians and outsiders for the film catering monopoly on Oahu told from the point of view of a young Hawaiian chef. It has been called "sexy and repulsive" by Publisher's Weekly; "brilliant" by Liz Smith; "utterly fresh" by author Jim Harrison, and "Rated NC-17" by Kirkus Reviews. It's kinda like taking a trip to Honolulu, getting drugged, robbed, and waking up on a beach with a nasty rum hangover and a ominous burning sensation when you urinate. Moist is about a young hipster in Los Angeles who falls in love with an erotic tattoo on a severed arm. Trouble comes in the form of the Mexican Mafioso who wants his arm back. Author TC Boyle called it, "Dark and mordantly funny", and the Los Angeles Times Book Review said "Smith's energetic thriller is an ode to the hard-boiled Los Angeles of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy spun out in brighter-than-life- Starburst colors." Moist will be re-issued by Grove Press in Fall '07.
Learn more about Salty at the author's website, and read some advance reviews.

The Page 69 Test: Salty.

--Marshal Zeringue