"Lundy is a talented writer who crafts vivid characters, keeps the overcomplicated story moving at a brisk pace and serves up vigorous prose with punchy dialogue."– Kirkus Reviews
Lundy’s (Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy, 2013) amusing tale of two hapless Illinoisans trying to raise quick cash in French wine country.
Taunted by his cuckolding ex-wife and her girlfriends while he performs the going-nowhere job grudgingly provided by his hateful ex-stepbrother, Jason Barnes is going over the edge. With 30 days to repay $60,000 in damages to his ex-stepbrother or face imprisonment, Jason, 32, thinks his problem is solved with his wealthy aunt Clara’s death. Unfortunately, she bequeaths her fortune to charity, leaving him only a vineyard in France, which he reasons he can sell. Two problems: no travel funds and no passport, his having been confiscated by his attorney. Jason’s lifelong friend, Neil “Stumpy” Hammond, agrees to advance cash in exchange for a share in the vineyard profits, and the two blunder into France, Jason carrying someone else’s passport. The friends are unprepared for what they find in Bordeaux—not just impediments to a quick sale, but romance and growing affection for the nuns who manage the vineyard. Realizing he cannot sell the vineyard, Jason focuses his attention on helping produce a profitable harvest, but when his share falls short, he’s forced to find another way to raise the remaining money he needs. His desperation causes him to risk everything he has won in France. Jason and Stumpy are two likable characters, ne’er-do-wells from Kankakee who, with decades of experience being the underdogs, are unfazed by the catastrophes they confront. Their genuine, mutual caring is heartwarming, although their ability to attract two beautiful, entrancing Frenchwomen is a bit of a stretch. What the friends lack in intelligence and cunning they make up for in chutzpah. Sisters Lucia and Claudette (not just nuns, but actual sisters) defy the nun stereotype, revealing family secrets that change Jason’s life forever.
A memorable, unexpectedly heartwarming romp.
A mild-mannered federal functionary battles a fascist takeover in this boisterous satirical thriller.
Chris Thompson, a low-level U.S. Customs official, is shocked when he’s summoned out of the blue to the White House, where the president, a nitwit who plays arcade games in the Oval Office, and the Cheney-esque chief of staff tell him the country is facing a stealth invasion of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Canada. Free-associative plot twists soon shove Chris out of a crashing airplane and into Emergence, a strange bunker compound located beneath a Nevada strip joint. There, he discovers a cult of young men who worship the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy as a prophet and believe they will enter a deathless utopia after completing their service in a torture- and murder-for-hire scheme. Chris escapes Emergence but finds that its xenophobic, anti-communist dogmas have taken over America and resulted in a dictatorship complete with loyalty oaths to the McCarthyite Big Mac Party. Lundy’s frenetic picaresque bundles Chris and his pickup team of oddball sidekicks—lady ninja, Cherokee warrior, horny computer geek—from sorority party to detention camp to helicopter gunship without worrying too much about plausibility or consistency of tone. Chris imagines himself a James Bond–ian action hero, but he’s more a Candide-like sad sack whose initiatives usually fizzle; he needs one deus ex machina after another to pluck him out of scrapes. Revolving around a cautionary tale about a luridly caricatured right-wing agenda and a creeping national-security state, the novel’s politics are a bit cartoonish, as the republic meekly submits to authoritarian rule just because a politician dictates it on TV. Still, Lundy is a talented writer who crafts vivid characters, keeps the overcomplicated story moving at a brisk pace and serves up vigorous prose with punchy dialogue. Fortunately, he supplies enough tongue-in-cheek farce to balance the ideological dudgeon.
An entertaining if over-the-top saga of demagoguery run amok.