Beam Me Up, Scotty

Michael Guinzburg, Author
Michael Guinzburg, Author Arcade Publishing $19.95 (243p) ISBN 978-1-55970-208-9
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-55970-388-8
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In this robustly vicious, often outrageously slapstick first novel, drug-addicted alcoholic Ed T. joins a substance-abuse program HDA (Hard Drugs Anonymous) to sober up and win back his wife and sons. Filled with rage against dealers and himself, Ed immediately wavers in his resolve and visits a crack house where an accident with a crack pipe (``call it God, call it Freud, call it fate'') leads him to kill the dealer and steal his money, his gun and his bloodthirsty dog. Sensing anew the possibility of recovery, Ed begins his personal 12-step crusade to rid the world of drug dealers and other street scum. In a first-person narrative that smacks of a lengthy acquaintance with AA, Ed turns self-help cliches on their heads to justify murder in a world where anything can be an addiction and spawn its own 12-step response. On one hand, Ed's tale is a brutal descent into urban degradation; on another, it's a hilarious parody of recovery programs (and the overused concept of addiction), placing Ed, a Jim Thompson-like character, in the middle of a Terry Southern-style satire. A classic comic ending, featuring prison inmates gathered for a BKA (Brutal Killers Anonymous) meeting, wraps up this alternately disturbing and laugh-out-loud debut. (June)
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