Jerome Charyn, Author . Mysterious $12.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-446-67733-2

Somewhere in this fantastical tale is a plot. Jocko Robinson, the 97th richest man in the world and the developer of the hit television series Lamplighter, is knocked over the head in the parking lot of his favorite Los Angeles lunchtime hangout, Duck Soup. This attack launches a two-continent adventure, which shuffles back and forth between Los Angeles, New York and Cologne, Germany. Jocko is seduced by "Inertia" (born Katinka Baer), one of the "Hurricane Ladies"—a group of former models who prey on rich men in order to make their bosses even richer. Inertia's father, the evil Sergeant Baer, turned her into a Hurricane Lady at a very early age. Others of the group go by such names as "Skeleton," "Sloth" and "Lazybones." They are all incredibly beautiful, utterly irresistible to men and totally amoral. Is the top dog of the criminal world that employs these unrealistic women Herr Lothar from Cologne or mobster Carelli from Detroit? Jocko falls in love with Inertia, despite her well-checkered past, while Inertia must resort to desperate measures to save her sanity and her life. The prolific Charyn (The Black Swan, etc.) sweeps the reader through his surreal magical world in a slick Hemingway-esque style. By the end, however, one is not sure if the joke is on the characters or the reader. (May 1)

FYI: In addition to the Prix Alfred and the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of the Institute of Arts and Letters, Charyn received a nomination for the first Hammett Award for his 1991 novel, Elsinore.

Reviewed on: 04/30/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
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