cover image Shut Up, Ugly

Shut Up, Ugly

Jack Pendarvis, Author . MacAdam/Cage $14 (250p) ISBN 978-1-59692-332-4

The meat of Pendarvis’s fourth book (after Awesome ) hangs on the skeleton of a hard-boiled detective novel, but instead of a stoic flatfoot with an eye for detail and a way with women, Pendarvis creates Burns, an out-of-work greeting-card executive who is so unobservant that “he had even become fat without knowing it.” Burns is running from trouble when Ginger, a farcically sexualized 20-year-old bed-and-breakfast clerk, hires him to trail her mysterious father, an artist supported by the “Willoughby Institute Monthly Stipend for Reluctant Geniuses.” Along the way, Burns encounters the B&B’s resident blogger, a purple-black raven that may be the requisite red herring and Doc, a pretty brain surgeon who recognizes that “Karaoke is a kind of grief.” This series of minor misadventures worthy of an Abbott and Costello movie is sure to please the author’s fans. (Oct.)