Torsten Krol, Author . Harper Perennial $14.95 (437p) ISBN 978-0-06-167294-1

Krol's bizarre novel mires a “big dumb hick” in a small town, where he is targeted for aiding and abetting terrorists. Gentle giant Odell Deefus is driving to an army recruitment center when his car breaks down along a country road. But he gets much more than he bargained for with his rescuer, Dean Mowry. Turns out that Dean has been studying Islam, had more than a little to do with his aunt's recent disappearance and is somehow involved with a shady character who goes by “Donnie Darko.” Soon enough, Odell accidentally kills Dean and becomes a surveillance magnet after he reports the discovery of a body (not Dean's) in the house. Meanwhile, Odell's story is so preposterous that it has the FBI thinking he is a member of a terrorist cell who can lead them to Dean. Though Odell is initially difficult to connect with, his naïveté becomes a sharpened satirical tool as he confronts the flaws in the institutions he treasures. The plot has its patently absurd moments, but readers of a certain demographic (hint: they're not driving to the recruiter's office) will enjoy the romp. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 11/03/2008
Release date: 02/01/2009
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