Kooky alliances chase a zillion-dollar payday.
When Saburo Taihotsu finally expires at 91, he leaves behind a mercantile empire that includes not only cars, computers, cameras, clothing, household goods and doodads deemed necessities by a greedy world, but a reputation as the last holdout of World War II, a man who bypassed Pearl Harbor and crash-landed his A6M2 Mitsubishi Zero on Kauai, where he spent the war outwitting searchers and dabbling in pesky raids that earned him the nickname the Mongoose. Although rumor has it he either took his fortune to heaven or burned it all in his factories’ ovens, a clue to its whereabouts is slipped under the door of Rob Weather, who may be the grandson he never met (from his years spent canoodling on Kauai) as well as the great-grandson of Carla Chance’s second cousin. Carla, the longtime companion of fourth-rate standup comic Buster Hightower (Disappeared, 2010, etc.), thinks Rob would be a good catch for her mathematician pal Sarah. Before you can gasp “MacGuffin,” the foursome is trying to decipher a shaky bit of calligraphy that’s basically 26 digits. Some of these digits wind up being televised by the tabloid news show Exclusive!, which offers megabucks to anyone who can decipher the clue. Also on the hunt for Taihotsu’s fortune are an orthodontist, his wife and their creditors, a trio of Vegas goons demanding the principal plus their vig. Everyone concerned twists those numbers forward, backward and edgewise while hatching new romances and strategies as to who will profit and who will be cut off, maybe even cut up. They all wind up at the Tikal ruins, where a critter lopes into the jungle with a bit of the plot.
Grandiloquently goofy, with madcap pacing, dead-on riffs on cultural inanities and a plethora of lawyer puns. Come on, aren’t you ready for a good laugh?