cover image The Human Bobby

The Human Bobby

Gabe Rotter, Simon & Schuster, $15 paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4391-6811-0

When we meet Bobby Flopkowski, the homeless hero of Rotter's middling second novel (after Duck Duck Wally), he and his sidekick, Eddie, are living in a tent on a California beach, but not long ago, Bobby was a happily married doctor and father living in Beverly Hills. That all changed after Katie Turner, Bobby's childhood neighbor and girlfriend, shows up in L.A. after a run of hard luck. When Bobby invites Katie to stay with him and his wife, Ava, until she gets on her feet, Ava is predictably peeved. But that's nothing compared to what happens one night when Katie kisses Bobby and, in the ensuing confusion, somehow Jack, Bobby and Ava's baby, goes missing. It's a long way down for Bobby as Ava leaves him, he loses his job, and eventually ends up on the beach with Eddie. Unfortunately, the entertaining if occasionally bumpy story falls apart when Bobby discovers that Katie might have had more to do with Jack's disappearance than he'd thought, and the action devolves into a swirl of increasingly unlikely turns more at home on daytime TV than on the page. (Aug.)