cover image THE WRONG DOYLE


Robert Girardi, . . Justin, Charles, $24.95 (337pp) ISBN 978-1-932112-18-4

Set on the pirate-haunted Atlantic coast just south of the Maryland-Virginia border, Girardi's delightfully improbable and loosely plotted fourth novel (after Vaporetto 13 ) is a raunchily erotic mishmash of pirate lore, putt-putt golf, corporate chicanery, Irish gangsters and tongue-in-cheek reflections on matters ecological. Womanizing, hard-boozing vagabond Tim Doyle is called back from Paris to discover he has inherited his uncle Buck's rundown putt-putt golf course and saloon (complete with Buck's nubile young mistress, Maggie) on the remaining family land in a remote Virginia backwater. Pressured to make a quick sale by high-rolling real estate developers with a history of drug dealing, Doyle smells a rat (actually a rotting carcass of a rare endangered albino opossum left as a dire warning to sell or be killed). The pressure escalates when two hoods are sent to burn Doyle and Maggie out, but that only increases their resolve to restore the golf course and hang on. Appearances are also made by a wealthy ex-girlfriend of Doyle's, a corrupt soft drink manufacturer using Chinese slave labor, agents from the INS and Fish and Wildlife Service, an ancient document revealing the location of a buried pirate ship and the dwarf henchman of a gay Irish air-conditioning mogul lately turned soda pop capitalist. For readers willing to suffer the ancestral Doyle biographies prefacing the novel's five sections, this droll parade makes for a passably good read. (Mar.)