After that bright beginning (Principato--1970) McHale has written an absurdist novel of rigorous banality. It's apparently based on a private joke with one Sterling Lloyd as its victim (a famous New York literary agent is perhaps collaborating--perhaps not--it couldn't matter less). Three ringleaders of a football team once padlocked poor eighteen-year-old Sterling into a walk-in refrigerator for three days. Where he died, two tears frozen onto his eyelids. It is now 23 years later and Egil Magruder, a recent widower, thinks his teammates should be brought to the bar for murder. As avenging angel, he visits them in their new family surroundings and finds them unregenerate, in fact thoroughly degenerate. The plot--hatched from a dice cup or a scotch bottle--resolves in bloody parody. Of what?