Friday, December 07, 2007

Book Review: "Like a Hole in the Head"

Playwright Jen Banbury's first novel, Like a Hole in the Head (1998) has been widely described as falling into the "neo-noir" genre, if there is such a thing. Part-time bookseller and full-time cynic Jill finds herself in a major pickle after she unwittingly fences a rare doctored first edition of Jack London's The Cruise of the Snark. Banbury leads Jill through a series of increasingly-improbable events involving former child actors, all-night veterinarians, a fair number of drunken louts ... and some ducks, a bookstore cat, and a wounded dog.

The barely-believable plot of this novel is only made more ridiculous by the even less-believable ending, and yet I enjoyed reading it - it's a bizarre, but amusing, romp through the LA underworld. Unfortunately the book's role tends to get lost in the shuffle; Banbury could certainly have done more to work that into the narrative.

Recommended for a bit of light reading.