May 30, 2011

The Albuquerque Turkey by John Vorhaus

I asked to review this book because I live in Albuquerque, and I was hoping to "see" some familiar places. As it turns out Albuquerque barely figures in the story, but its still good fun, the sort of book many reviewers would describe as a "romp." Personally, my dignity precludes me from using that word. I won't use "quaff" either, unless I'm making fun of someone for being a wine nerd.

The Albuquerque Turkey is the (some might insert "rollicking" here) tale of a con man, Radar, whose girlfriend (also a con artist) has decided to go straight after a pretty big score (landed in a previous book, The California Roll). The two decide somewhat randomly to settle in Santa Fe, where they mull over what to do with the rest of their lives. Accounting? Teaching? Car sales? But when Radar's long lost estranged father shows up (also a con artist), their plans for reformation take a different turn.

Radar's friend and sidekick, Mirplo, also dabbles in reformation. He throws his hat in with the artsy crowd, pulling a con of his own as he pretends to be a great artist. Yet along the way he actually does become a great artist. Mirplo is only a supporting character, but definitely the most colorful, and my favorite. The name of the book comes from one of his pieces, a sculpture called -you guessed it- The Albuquerque Turkey.

This was a fun book. The writer has written books on the subjects of gambling and comedy, and he certainly seems to know his way around both. But what I enjoyed the most was Vorhaus's way with words. He masterfully manipulates language to say the same old things in new ways. A couple of his sayings that are now a part of my own vernacular are "verbal prostate massage" (sweet-talking your way out of or into something) and "audio waterboarding" (my new way of expressing myself when my husband plays AC/DC).

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of review.

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