Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the last book I read

Spanking Watson by Kinky Friedman.

Kinky Friedman is what you might call a man of many talents: singer with Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys (signature tunes: They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore and Get Your Biscuits In The Oven And Your Buns In The Bed), politician (candidate for Governor of Texas in 2006), novelist, animal welfare campaigner and maker of quality salsa.

In his incarnation as novelist he's written a dozen or so novels featuring a character named Kinky Friedman as an amateur private investigator based in New York having a series of quirky adventures with his gang of local misfits the Village Irregulars. Needless to say there's a certain degree of metafictional stuff going on here - the Kinky character is a former country singer, and some of the Irregulars are based on real people.

Raymond Chandler on some serious mushrooms would be an obvious point of reference - basically there's a certain amount of inconsequential dicking around early doors, and then some actual plot in which some actual stuff happens in the second half of the novel. The setting of the novels within a pretty narrow range of situations (mostly revolving around the Kinkster's Manhattan flat and Winnie Katz's lesbian dance class upstairs) means there's a law of diminishing returns with the books (this is one of the later ones, written in 1999), and to be honest the earlier ones like When The Cat's Away and Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola are better.

But you've got to love someone who can immerse themselves in the political process and come out with their sanity intact. Absolutely zero chance of getting elected anywhere, but so much the worse for America. Kinky for President!

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