cover image Lost in Rooville

Lost in Rooville

Ray Blackston, . . Revell, $12.99 (300pp) ISBN 978-0-8007-3057-4

In the final installment of his Flabbergasted trilogy, Blackston takes his characters on an Australian adventure. In Flabbergasted , Blackston's narrative techniques were fresh, but here they feel warmed over. For example, when Jay, the narrator, and his best friend, Steve, spend 40 pages exchanging witty repartee about their impending marriage proposals, the conversation quickly wears thin. Blackston goes for erudite insouciance in virtually all his main characters (so carefree are they that they complain about their ruined shoes as they're sinking in quicksand). Unfortunately, most everything—the narration, the dialogue, the distracting metaphors—is overwritten. To his credit, Blackston sustains a reasonably interesting plot, especially in the first half, when two of his main characters are in danger. His description of their struggles has the feel of a solid adventure novel. While there are a few interesting moments after this crisis is resolved, the novel is compromised by an ending that readers will have seen coming. With many oblique references to events and characters in the other novels, this book is likely to appeal only to existing fans of the trilogy. (July)