Monday, July 6, 2009

Very Mercenary by Rayo Casablanca

Leigh Tiller, beautiful New York socialite and "billionaire fashionista" (remind you of someone?), is kidnapped by a bear, a monkey, a penguin, and a cat. By chance, she is later noticed in a penthouse window by one Laser Mechanic — ambitious head of the Strategic Art Defense, a group of guerrilla artists (yes, you read that right) — and he is instantly struck by her beauty.

Soon, the life's goal of Laser the asthmatic artist becomes to rescue Leigh and return her to her father, Kip Tiller, at his casino in Las Vegas. (While, of course, spreading his SAD agenda to a wider audience through the inevitable media coverage.)

Trouble is, Kip doesn't want her back. Always one to take advantage of an opportunity, he has therefore hired The Serologist, a sadistic doctor with an ultraloyal assistant named Olivier, to ensure he never has to deal with his daughter again.

What results is Very Mercenary, a road-trip novel of Gumball Rally proportions. Numerous groups, including Momma Gash's "girls" and a preteen street gang called the Black Sultans, eventually head West in pursuit, all rocketing toward an explosive finale that made me laugh and cringe at the same time.

Author Rayo Casablanca (6 Sick Hipsters) draws his characters with broad strokes so they're easily identifiable, and his novel manages to be both extremely clever and cleverly extreme at the same time. He lays on the happy ending a little thick, but everything in Very Mercenary is painted with a wide brush. It's not a great book, but it is a lot of fun, and sometimes that's all you want out of a novel.

Nitpicker's Note: If you want to "liven it up a bit," you want to add "flair." Only add "flare" if by "liven it up" you mean "burn it down."

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