JACK FISH

J. Milligan, Author
J. Milligan, Author . Soho $24 (224p) ISBN 978-1-56947-382-5
Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Paperback - 217 pages - 978-1-56947-416-7
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Milligan's debut novel, a wacky sci-fi satire, sets an amphibian secret agent adrift in New York City. Aquaman Jack Fish is an assassin on a mission from the Elders of Atlantis (the fabled lost city actually lies under the sea off the coast of New Jersey) to find a man named Victor Sargasso and kill him. Jack washes up on the beach at Coney Island (wearing a blue mankini swimsuit), where he must learn to respire the Topworld air ("he was breathing like an asthmatic with a bong stuck in his trachea"). Pretty soon he's wandering around New York City, looking for other Atlantean contacts while avoiding Atlantis's deadly enemies, the Maltese. Poor Jack: it's his first assignment and he's about as smart as a goldfish. Tricked by everyone, he stumbles into one mess after another—he even lets Sargasso talk him out of the assassination. Though chased by Maltese soldiers who want to harpoon him, and worried that other Atlantean spies will kill him for failing to complete his mission, Jack still has time to discover the delights of sex and tasty hamburgers. When Jack finally discovers why Sargasso must be killed, he knuckles down—but will he succeed? Zany, bouncy, endlessly droll, Milligan's story is filled with oddball characters and cheeky irreverence, and through the eyes of a true foreigner New York seems more grimy, eccentric and alive than ever. (Jan.)

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