THE BOOZER CHALLENGE by Charles Gill
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THE BOOZER CHALLENGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Self-made millionaire challenges his children to make a hundred grand in six months: this is the premise of Gill's sparkling, high-voltage, tongue-in-cheek first novel. Henry Quinn Boozer, the mustard king, alarmed that his four children, all in their 20s, prefer the sweet life to the work ethic, summons them to Treetop, his fabulous Hudson River mansion, and issues his challenge. They have until the end of the World Series (in which Boozer has a stake, having acquired a ball club, the Mohawks). If they fail, the reward (Treetop) will likely go to his mistress Suzanne (""a wonderful licker""). All four siblings demonstrate the right Boozer stuff and meet the challenge. Robert parlays his skill at the keyboard into a gig at a Manhattan bar and a lucrative recording contract. Emily takes Hollywood by storm; artist Sally sells a portrait of brother Boo for the desired amount. Boo himself, an amazingly strong but gentle giant, is hired by the Boston Revolution, another major-league team; his formidable batting leads to an October showdown with the Mohawks, eventual victory for his team, and a massive coronary for old man Boozer (a poor loser). He recovers just long enough to award Treetop to Robert, who has made the most impressive comeback from the jaws of decadence. Gill keeps his big cast in constant, colorful motion, like riders on a carousel. A master of monkey business, he studs his storyline with sexual shenanigans and surprises large and small: Sally discovers her real father is Quince the butler; Quince metamorphoses into a dandy baseball manager. Yet there is no descent into whimsy; Gill's earthy, idiomatic language prevents that. Smart, sassy, sexy fun.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1987
Publisher: Dutton