Ever have one of those days when you knew right from the start that things weren’t going to go well? When freelance computer game text writer John Reynman comes down to pick up his mail, he finds a corpse in his living room, a tall man with gray eyes and bronze hair, black-rimmed glasses and two tattoos, a black rose over his heart, a logo for a rock group called the Electric Luddites on his left forearm. The man is a stranger, but what especially disturbs John (as if the smell weren’t enough) is that the dead man is a dead ringer for him. In less time than it takes to fall into bed with Michelle Galen, the nubile lawyer he needs to get him out of the awkward situation his dead double has landed him in, sober-sided John is up to his pocket protector in suspicious cops, occultists, stray bullets, and members of the legendary Brotherhood of Something or Other (BOSO). Despite breaks for frequent bouts of athletically intellectual sex (—His dick was harder than advanced calculus,— etc.), none of the subsequent whimsy ever comes close to fulfilling the promise of that arresting opening tableau. Rolling-stone Webb’s (Uncle Ovid’s Exercise Book, 1988) first essay in the form starts bizarrely, then gets increasingly illogical and uncompelling—like The Crying of Lot 49 in reverse.