A hapless British bookstore owner backs into a life of crime to hold onto the twisted girl of his dreams.
Young Mark Madden suffers two bizarre attacks in a single day. A menacing man who resembles Jesus burns a valuable book in Mark’s shop, then shoves and threatens him. Later, he’s walloped by a Hitler Youth who hurls verbal abuse and leaves a large lump on his head. At the hospital, Mark runs into Caroline Sewell, the girl who broke his heart six years ago. Abrasive and self-centered as ever, Caro nonetheless makes a date with Mark and eventually hops back into the sack with him. Laden with debt from a credit-card scam, she teasingly asks Mark to kill her wealthy, bearlike father, who’s about to cut her out of his will. The list of people she wants Mark to murder includes Warren, a loony rejected lover who’s pestering the pair. When Mark accidentally knocks Warren onto the subway tracks and his death, he becomes Caro’s knight in shining armor and their sex life skyrockets. Unfortunately for Mark, his inadvertent success in eliminating Warren only sharpens Caro’s desire to do in dad.
Bowker (I Love My Smith and Wesson, 2004, etc.) gets locked into a pattern of escalating absurdity that becomes a bit predictable, but his first-person confessional is deliciously entertaining.