Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Death and Life of Bobby ZThe Death and Life of Bobby Z by Don Winslow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What an entertaining book! Its hero is a former Marine, a three-strike convict, and a total loser, Tim Kearney, who hasn’t ever been able to commit a crime without messing up (to use a nice word). When a DEA agent gives him a chance of avoiding life in prison (or rather death in prison as Hell’s Angels are bent on killing Tim) by impersonating a dead legendary surfer (and pot distributor), Bobby Z, Tim jumps at the opportunity. But soon hundreds of people want to kill him for various reasons and total hilarity ensues.

Don Winslow’s “The Death and Life of Bobby Z” is well written and the language is occasionally funny to the point of loud laughs. The story is of course utterly implausible, but does that ever prevent us from enjoying a book or a movie? Body count is extremely high and the action is thrilling. Tim Kearney is such a nice person and a really cool guy, after all. Mr. Winslow’s portrayal of Southern California is vivid. The scene at the San Diego ZOO, which I know pretty well, gives a good feel for the place and, as a bonus, is hilarious.

Now my complaints. There is very little depth in the book other than the well-developed plot of the growing bond between Tim and six-year old Kit. The idea of a semi-secret compound in the Anza-Borrego State Park is totally ridiculous (the book is from pre-GoogleMaps times). And since the DEA agent Tad Gruzsa is supposed to be Polish, his last name should be Grusza.

This novel will be a gem for people who like “fast reads” and “unputdownability”. For the sheer entertainment value and amusing writing my rating is

Three stars.

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