Don't start Matt Ruff's newest title, Bad Monkeys (HarperCollins, Aug.), unless you have an uninterrupted stretch of time to devote to devouring this tasty little treat. Completely different from Ruff's wonderful Set This House in Order from four years ago, Bad Monkeys is like a house of cards put up by a speed freak: it goes a thousand miles an hour, and you keep expecting it to topple over, but it never does. Ruff manages to keep a hundred preposterous notions in balance until the very last sentence. Under arrest for murder, Jane Charlotte tells a tale that lands her right in the psychiatric wing—a story about her employer, a shadow organization with divisions such as "The Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons" (Bad Monkeys for short), and how she came to work for them. A cerebral joy from start to finish, and with an ending that will absolutely knock you out, Bad Monkeys is the most fun I've had reading in quite some time!
Volume 254 Issue 26 06/25/2007