WONDERDOG by Inman Majors

WONDERDOG

KIRKUS REVIEW

This second outing from Majors (Swimming in Sky, 2000, not reviewed) is an aimless ramble through Alabama bars and byways in search of an elusive comic breeze.

Dev Degraw, a 33-year-old lawyer in Tuscaloosa, is in a long funk after his divorce (Polly has custody of their small daughter, Katie) and has gone two months without clients. Dev, in fact, is a bum, but a bum with two claims to fame: He’s the son of the current Governor and is still tight with his daddy; and way back when, he was a lousy child actor on a TV show called Bayou Dog (nepotism at work). This is an election year and Daddy Degraw is toying with the idea of a state lottery, something that would please big campaign contributor Skip Terry but upset the blacks who are a large part of his base. Oddly, the Governor uses his no-count son as an intermediary with both Skip and the black mayor of Birmingham; predictably, Dev screws up the two meetings, and that’s the end of the lottery issue. Bars are Dev’s natural habitat as he looks for a “beer-groggy sorority girl [who] will ask him . . . to ride her like the fine young pony that she is.” The best he can manage is a night in a trailer with a young redhead who has missing teeth; a more typical evening involves losing a bet that another barfly can’t eat a whole stick of butter. Maybe that proves we all share a “commonality of weirdness,” which could well pass for the novel’s message. Toward the end, there are two violent episodes. A young gun-toting black client, bitten by a dog at the track, kidnaps Dev after the lawyer fails to show up in court; later, at a Bayou Dog reunion, Dev and the great-grandson of the show’s wonderdog foil an attempt on the Governor’s life.

Strenuously zany, but the humor falls flat.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2004
ISBN: 0-312-33138-X
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2004




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