cover image More Than They Could Chew

More Than They Could Chew

Rob Roberge / Author HarperCollins Publishers $13.95 (306p) IS

Nick Ray, the divorced, alcoholic narrator of screenwriter/rocker Roberge's zany, intermittently amusing suspense novel, works the nightshift at the historic Lincoln Hotel, a sewagechallenged Long Beach, California, commercial property that survived the 1933 earthquake. ""No one with anyone they could count on ended up here,"" Nick explains, ""there were no mom or dads knocking on the doors of the Lincoln."" Aching to get out of the place, Nick is thrilled when he buys a fossilized computer and discovers that it's loaded with the current locations of whistleblowers who were hidden by the government's witnessprotection programpriceless information to thugs looking for revenge and a payoff for Nick to start a new life with his kinky, bisexual lover Tara. With the help of a flashy, goldtoothed Russian criminal and a lawyerturnedrecovering junkie, Nick testblackmails relocated Frank Carr with surprising success. But greed soon intervenes and the troika gets in over their heads with dangerous felon and Titanic fanatic Harry Fudge, an aging crook Cole's firm once rescued from a hefty jail sentence. Though the narrative eventually downshifts into an easy, uninspired resolution, this drughazed Christmastime romp will please many readers with its dark humor and quick plot twists.