WIRELESS by Jack O'Connell


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 Lieutenant Lenore Thomas (Box Nine, 1991) has left Quinsigamond, Massachusetts, for greener pastures, but the town's crime-infested Canal Zone, home of Bangkok Park, is as busy as ever: here, rival gangs have to fight for attention with a ragtag crew of anarchist ``jammers'' intent on knocking out radio stations and broadcasting their own militantly countercultural programming. The jammers congregate at a bar called Wireless, where their unofficial head, G.T. Flynn--an insurance agent and estate planner who milks the system in order to finance its enemies--dispenses bromides and largesse. One crazy weekend Ronnie Wilcox, goddess of WQSG's ``Libido Liveline,'' comes into Wireless to see whether Flynn knows anything about the notorious O'Zebedee Brothers, who've been jamming Ray Todd's right-wing calls to arms on WQSG, and Flynn takes enough time off from his usual entourage--dwarf ballroom-dancers Wallace and Olga Browning, aspiring terrorist Hazel, and stuttering, Hazel-struck street kid Gabe--to fall into bed with Ronnie. Meanwhile, Hazel, shooting for big-time sabotage, breaks with the jammers of Wireless and uses Gabe as her key to a big-time explosives cache promised by the Angkor Hyenas; Thomas's successor, Detective Hannah Shaw, Hazel's old lover, struggles to keep the peace between the Hyenas and their latest rivals, the upstart Granada Street Popes; and an ex-FBI Torquemada named Speer, after warming up by setting fire to a fatally activist priest, calls Ronnie's phone-in line and pays a personal call on the Brownings in preparation for taking out Flynn. ``Baroque'' ain't the word for this carnival of grotesques. Though the plot is no more than a recipe for producing the maximal number of collisions among O'Connell's wildly free agents, you'll spend a long time on the road before finding a more deeply imagined world than Bangkok Park. O'Connell should apply for his own ZIP Code.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-89296-546-0
Page count: 304pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993


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