Cheech and Chong met Chandler in a hazy whodunit by literary editor Schneider (Beautiful Inez, 2005, etc.).
Augie Boyer, a private dick, has two great loves. The first is Cannabis sativa, of which he has been smoking “a goodly amount.” The second is greasy fast food, though it wouldn’t take a Morgan Spurlock to explain to Augie that it’s not so good for him: “I had a little trouble getting myself going the next morning,” he grumbles. “Twenty-four deep-fried chicken wings and a tub of gizzards will do that to a guy.” Improbably, though, Augie is stirred out of his Nick Dangerish torpor by a visit from a hot blonde—natch—who plays a mean fiddle and is way out on the wacky scale. The Republican Convention is coming up, so there are gigs for those in her line of work, save that neo-Nazis (one of whom owns a mansion with “two giant Snoopy sculptures flanking his front door,” just so we know he’s weird), anti-abortion demonstrators, counter-demonstrators and assorted bizarros are making things difficult for all concerned. Augie lumbers off into glassy-eyed action, though, with self-preservation in mind. The publisher bills this as literary fiction, but it’s literary mostly to the extent that Schneider turns in a good sentence and drops the names of poets and writers (“It was almost as good as being at the John Steinbeck museum in Salinas”) from time to time. It’s really a great big shaggy-dog story that gives the matter of getting stoned appropriate gravity while recognizing that sometimes, given reality and all those Republicans running around, it seems the better part of valor to check out of one’s mind for a time.
A treat for the ’60s-survivor and postmodern-ironic sets, nicely bookending Roger Simon’s 1973 novel The Big Fix.