MY RIDE WITH GUS by Charles Carillo

MY RIDE WITH GUS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A second helping from TV-producer Carillo (Shepherd Avenue, 1986) in which fate, confusions, and simple mishap drag us--along with his yuppie wannabee hero--across the bridge into Brooklyn, where the secrets of one man's life are laid bare. ""Jimmy Gambar was not a man who often ignored his instincts, but when he did, he pulled the plug on the phone and hung a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door to his better judgment."" Jimmy, in fact, is a bit of a dweeb: A Manhattan architect ashamed of his working-class Italian origins, he changed his name (from ""Gambuzza"") and cut all ties with his family once he left Brooklyn for college. Since then, however, he's gone from strength to strength and now, somewhere in his 30s, is about to be made a junior partner. This is precisely when his troubles begin. First, he argues with his girlfriend and ends things by breaking up on the very night, New Year's Eve, on which he'd meant to propose. Then he picks up some random nasty girl at a bar and accidentally kills her at his place. Now what to do? Somehow Jimmy has the presence of mind to call his wiseguy brother Gus, and the two of them set about the unpleasant task of finding a place to dump the stiff. This means Brooklyn, of course, where the two are helped along the way by a rogues' gallery of hoodlums, priests, old girlfriends, and Mom herself--who's still living in the old place in Bay Ridge, waiting to welcome Jimmy back to the fold. In the end, the dawn brings more than the first day of a new year--it brings a new life for Jimmy, who sees that he can start over only by starting again. Predictable and strangely flat: All the ""characters"" can be recognized a block away, and the there's-no-place-like-home theme creaks beneath the heavy burden of stereotype.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1996
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Pocket