cover image Goodbye, Mexico

Goodbye, Mexico

Phillip Jennings, . . Forge, $24.95 (348pp) ISBN 978-0-765-31661-5

Former Marine and CIA agent Jennings returns with a riotous sequel to his acclaimed Vietnam farce Nam-A-Rama (2005). It's 1973 and the CIA has posted the naïve, earnest Jack Armstrong (back from Nam-A-Rama ) to Mexico City, where he receives a surprising visit from former best friend and colleague Gerard Gearheardt—surprising because Gearheardt was last seen in the burning wreckage of a helicopter in the Laotian jungle in 1969. The Phoenix-like Gearheardt recruits a reluctant Armstrong for the following scheme: assassinate the Mexican president, blame it on Castro and use the resulting outrage as cover for taking over Cuba (which Gearheardt plans to rename Pussy Galoreland and give to the International Sisterhood of Prostitutes as a refuge). Meanwhile, the CIA's new chief-of-station in Mexico, Major Crenshaw, rides into town on a burro with his own plan: a devout Catholic, Crenshaw aims to hijack Gearheardt's operation in order to secure Cuba for the Vatican. Lurking in the shadows is the Pygmy, a three-foot tall CIA operative, and the habitually naked Marta Carlingua, a Cuban prostitute who's either a Gearheardt loyalist or a Castro mole. As Gearheardt's Byzantine plot unravels in this gonzo satire of international diplomacy, it's all as obvious as it is exaggerated, and it's very funny. (Apr.)