Synopses & Reviews
Following his fast-and-furious noir thrillers, Gun Monkeys and The Pistol Poets, Victor Gischler returns with a full throttle suspense novel that pits an eccentric collector against an unlikely repo man. Teddy Folger is bored with his life, so he burns down his comic-book store for the insurance money. The plan: sail to a distant island where he can drink rum and chase women. But things don't work out quite as Teddy planned.... Connor Samson is repo man extraordinaire, and he's reclaimed Teddy's boat. But Connor doesn't know about the priceless stowaway on board. Soon, billionaire collector Ahira Kurisaka and a gang of would-be ninjas are hot on Connor's trail--and they'll stop at nothing to get what they want. With chaos just a few steps behind him, Connor is going to have to act fast... or become just another expendable on a bloody path to the ultimate collectible. With an eccentric cast of criminals and everymen, Suicide Squeeze showcases Gischler's thrilling, and often hilarious, wordsmanship in a tough, gritty, and enormously entertaining crime caper.
"The idea of the repo man as crime solver has been popular since Joe Gores's San Francisco series; Bill Eidson is a recent convert. Now Gischler, who earned an Edgar nomination for his debut, Gun Monkeys (2003), gets in on the act with his third novel, which features a down-at-the-heels repo man, Conner Samson, who's hired to take back a sloop, the Electric Jenny, from its defaulting owner, Teddy Folger. Folger has burned down his comic book and baseball card store in Pensacola, Fla., for the insurance, and now plans to sail away from his old life and wife on the craft. But what Conner soon discovers is that an almost priceless treasure, a baseball card signed in 1954 by both Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, is hidden on the Jenny and that a Japanese collector with a team of deadly ninjas will kill anyone who gets in the way of his acquiring it. Gischler is a light and clever satirist who knows how to keep a narrative moving, and Conner, who has connections to the Southern art world and a foxy married ladyfriend named Tyranny Jones, is a character well worth another visit. Agent, Noah Lukeman at Lukeman Literary Management. (Apr. 5)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The Edgar Award-nominated author of Gun Monkeys
delivers an adrenaline rush of a novel that features a special appearance by Joe DiMaggio.
The high spot of Teddy Folger's life was the day in 1954 that he got an autographed baseball card from Joe DiMaggio himself. It's been downhill ever since. Which is why he just unloaded his freeloading wife and torched his own comic-book store–in one of the stupidest insurance scams in history. Enter Conner Samson. The down-on-his-luck repo man has just been hired to repossess Teddy's boat. Little does he know there's a baseball card on board that some men are willing to kill for. Thus begins a rip-roaring cross-country odyssey–and with bodies piling up, the squeeze is on for the penultimate piece of Americana. And Conner will be lucky if he ends up back where he started: broke and (still) breathing.
About the Author
Victor Gischler lives in the wilds of Skiatook, Oklahoma–a long, long way from a Starbuck's. His wife, Jackie, thinks he is a silly individual. He drinks black, black coffee all day long and sleeps about seven minutes a night. Victor's first novel, Gun Monkeys, was nominated for the Edgar Award.
We have to ask. Marilyn, DiMaggio and Billy Wilder --- why those three? How did you decide to use the DiMaggio card and Marilyn Monroe encounter to launch the book's plot?
Victor Gischler: It was too good an opportunity for some pop culture satire. A joining of icons. It's the king of baseball married to the queen of Hollywood, America's version of a royal wedding (some would say the Kennedys...but I disagree). The card becomes emblematic of so much in American culture. How much? The reader can decide.
BRC: SUICIDE SQUEEZE walks a fine line between pathos and humor without giving itself entirely over to either. There are elements within it that are similar to other authors, but in the end it maintains its own unique voice. What authors have influenced your work?
VG: Kurt Vonnegut. Crime writers like Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen certainly are a big influence, but it was Vonnegut (especially BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS) who helped inspire my leanings toward satire. I'm not saying you'll think it's a Vonnegut novel when you pick up SUICIDE SQUEEZE, but the influence is there.
BRC: You reside in Oklahoma, where your novel PISTOL POETS takes place. GUN MONKEYS and your new novel SUICIDE SQUEEZE take place in Florida. Do you have any plans to set a future novel in a locale closer to your home base? And what elements of Florida do you find attractive, with respect to basing a novel there?
VG: What do I find attractive about Florida? Water. Also, warm weather, which translates into girls in skimpy beach outfits. The next novel will be set mostly in Oklahoma but with visits to New York City and New Orleans as well. Travel is fun.
BRC: What, or who, was the inspiration for Conner?
VG: In a vague way the John D. MacDonald character, Travis McGee. Conner is sort of the anti-Travis. Both are sort of the handsome boat-bum types, but Conner, unlike Travis, seems to make life worse for himself every time he tries to fix things.
BRC: By what path have you become familiar with the repossession business? And what inspired you to write a novel involving a repo man?
VG: Well, let's be clear. I am NOT familiar with the repossession business. It's a gig Conner sort of fell into by accident, and a really good, professional repo man would probably think Conner is a doofus.
BRC: One of the minor elements of SUICIDE SQUEEZE, which we enjoyed, was the exhibition of your knowledge concerning comic book and baseball card collectibles. For example, only a true fan would know that the "first Byrne" copy of X-Men should be kept under lock and key. Your descriptions of a science fiction convention, and the people who attend such gatherings, were particularly informed as well. Have you ever been a part of collectible media fandom? If not, how did you come by your extensive knowledge?
VG: I used to really love the Daredevil comic when Frank Miller was doing it. I was a huge fan. So I got into comics and collected a few titles, even went to a few conventions. I won't say I grew out of it. More accurate to say I just got busy with other stuff. But I've always been a sci-fi, Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings sort of guy.
BRC: What is the most difficult aspect of writing a "humorous novel?"
VG: You just have to accept that everyone has a different notion of "funny" and that some people just won't "get it."
BRC: We loved the novel's zany characters. Which of your supporting characters was your particular favorite? Why?
VG: The dog with the butter knife. (Remember him? Wow!)
BRC: What are you working on now, and when can readers expect to see it?
VG: A shoot-'em-up called SHOTGUN OPERA (February 2006). I should be finished with it soon. Lots of blood and dirty words.